HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man and a woman were found dead after an apparent murder-suicide in the Alief area on Tuesday morning.
Houston police responded to the 12600 block of Alief Clodine Road near S. Dairy Ashford Road just after 8 a.m. and found a man and woman both dead with gunshot wounds.
After a preliminary investigation, officials believe the man shot the woman and then shot himself.
Police believe the pair got into some kind of dispute while traveling in a Mercedes-Benz.
"It's apparently some sort of domestic violence disturbance that led to a murder and then a suicide," Sgt. Holbrook said.
A witness told investigators she was standing at a nearby bus stop when she saw the woman get out of the car and run down the road.
When the woman ran away, the man got out and ran behind her, the witness said. At some point, the man reportedly grabbed the woman and pulled her.
The witness said the woman was able to get away and ran back to the car. The man ran back to the car too, and that's when he reportedly pulled out a gun.
"I am very sorry for the loss for the family because no woman should go through that... no woman," Ashly, the witness said through tears. "No matter what is going on. No woman should get shot."
Though the shooting happened across the street from Alief-Amity Park, Alief ISD said none of its schools were impacted.
According to a tweet from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, the woman killed is likely a professional staff member with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
"These incidents are tragic, but all too common," Gonzalez said. "Please keep her and her team members in your thoughts and prayers."
Gonzalez said in 2022, 30% of homicides in unincorporated Harris County have been domestic violence-related, making it the No. 1 motive.
"We are dealing with an epidemic of epic proportions, and it is connected to how we understand and are able to treat one another," Emilee Whitehurst, the Houston Area Women's Center CEO, said.
Whitehurst said since 2020, when domestic violence spiked during the pandemic, they have been operating at an expanded capacity to meet the demand for their services. They have hired more staff and are still using hotels and their residential center to accommodate domestic violence survivors.
"Unfortunately, what we are seeing on our hotlines and on the frontlines is a continued ripple effect with devastating consequences in the domestic violence arena," Whitehurst said.
From January to June of 2021, there were 24,804 calls into their crisis hotline. From January through June of this year, there were 28,935 calls, a more than 16% increase.
Within the city of Houston through the end of July of 2022, there have been 46 domestic violence-related homicides, up four from the same time frame last year. Nearly 17% of homicides through the first seven months of the year have been domestic violence-related, according to HPD.
"Murder suicides, domestic violence homicides are up citywide, we are just living in really stressful times, and we are seeing the after-effects in these tragedies," Chau Nguyen, a trauma therapist with JEM Wellness and Counseling, said.
Investigators said the man and woman appeared to be in their 30s. They believe they had some sort of domestic relationship, though the exact nature of that relationship is unknown. Officers were still working to identify them.
HPD said the investigation is ongoing.