HOUSTON, TX – A Texas man who was in the process of being evicted from his apartment set fire to the building Sunday morning and lay in wait with a shotgun for its residents to run out to escape the flames, shooting at them as they did so, Houston police say.
The shooter, currently only identified as a 40 year-old man, was reportedly dressed all in black and was hiding in a parking lot across the street; as tenants fled from the complex, he reportedly began firing at them. In the end, four individuals were killed – including the shooter himself, who was shot by responding police – an additional two wounded, according to officials.
Police were summoned to the scene after receiving calls from the Houston Fire Department, who had responded to a fire at the apartment building, located at the 8000 block of Dunlap Street, on the city’s southwest side; when firefighters arrived, the shooter opened fire on them as well and forcing them to take cover, said Houston police Chief Troy Finner at a press conference.
“I’ve seen things I have not seen before in 32 years, and it has happened time and time again,” Finner said. “We just ask that the community come together.”
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Firefighters called police, and a responding officer spotting the suspect firing from the parking lot and fatally shot him, Chief Finner said, at which point now-safe, firefighters began to combat the blaze; two additional people were saved from the burning building.
Of the shooting victims, two men in their 60s were pronounced dead at the scene; a third man, in his 40s, later died at the hospital. The additional two victims sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to police. The suspected shooter also died at the scene.
Police have began an investigation into the incident, but Chief Finner noted that the suspect – who reportedly was suffering from colon cancer, was behind on his rent, and was unemployed – was a troubled man who may have carried out the attack as a form of revenge after being informed that he was being evicted.
“Something must have just hit him in the last couple of days really hard to where he just didn’t care,” Finner said, adding that he was “very proud” of the responding officer – a 7-year veteran of the force who is currently on paid administrative leave, as per department policy – for the lives he saved by cutting the suspect’s shooting spree short.