HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The parents of Nicholas Croom said their son was heading home from work Thursday night to see his brother, who is in town visiting family, when Croom was shot and killed in what authorities said may have stemmed from road rage.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a shooting Thursday at about 6:45 p.m. in the 8700 block of Sam Houston Parkway East.
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When deputies arrived, they found a gray 2011 Toyota Camry crashed along the service road of Beltway 8 near Wilson Road. Deputies found 26-year-old Croom dead inside the vehicle.
Investigators said witnesses reported Croom and a driver in a tan or brown pickup truck had been involved in a road rage incident as they were heading east on Sam Houston Parkway, moments before the shooting.
As deputies investigated the scene, Croom's family was already searching for him. His mother, Monica Eagle, said it had been about three hours and they had not heard from Croom.
"We got a call while we were parked trying to gather our next move," Eagle said, "In the interim while we were parked, we were making several phone calls to hospitals, to police departments just to see if we can pin what might have created the delay because the calls (to Croom) were going unanswered."
Eagle said the sheriff's office and homicide detectives called the family, telling them Croom had been killed 10 minutes from their family home.
The suspected shooter was seen driving off and heading east along the Beltway 8 service road, according to authorities.
"I just want to look him in the eye and basically ask him why," Mark Croom, the victim's father said. "Nothing could be so bad to where you pullover and fire a weapon to kill somebody because they made you mad on the road."
Croom's parents said he would have turned 27 in two weeks. They described Croom as an empathetic, calm-mannered, bright and kind soul. Eagle said her son was known in their family to be a very cautious driver.
"While this has been beyond devastating, I can say we want justice," Eagle said. "We want justice. I don't think we are there yet to say what we want to say to the person who caused this because we are angry. We are torn apart."
If you know any information regarding the incident, you are urged to contact the Harris County Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit's office at 713-274-9100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222 TIPS (8477).
"He's a coward," Mark said. "We need to find him, bottom line."
The family set up an online fundraiser to help with funeral expenses.
"I'm going to miss him calling me, 'Madre, I'm home!'" Eagle said. "I'm going to miss him. Everything that he was, I'm going to miss that."
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