Houston, TX – A man who had recently been evicted from a residential complex in southwest Houston set fire to the building early on Sunday morning and then shot people as they evacuated their residences.
The incident began at about 1 a.m. on Aug. 28 at a housing complex in the 8000-block of Dunlap Street near the intersection of Bissonnet and Hillcroft, KHOU reported.
Police said the suspect set fire to the backside of multiple units in the building and then went to the parking lot to wait for the residents to evacuate.
The suspect opened fire on the people he had lured into the parking lot as soon as they left their units to seek safety from the fire, KHOU reported.
“This guy set the house on fire in the back, went behind his car, and started shooting people as they were coming out the door,” neighbor Robin Aaron said.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and began to fight the fire, but then someone started shooting, KHOU reported.
Authorities don’t know if the gunman was actually shooting at the first responders, but firefighters took cover.
Then a Houston police officer arrived on the scene, according to KHOU.
The officer saw the shooter – wearing all black and armed with a shotgun – standing in the parking lot.
Police said the officer fatally shot the gunman, bringing an end to his reign of terror, KHOU reported.
“I come out and there’s a body lying there and a body laying over here,” resident Troy Lamb recalled. “Then when I pulled my car over around, there’s a body over there.”
Three victims and the gunman were transported to the hospital and pronounced dead, KHOU reported.
“It’s shocking,” Lamb told KTRK. “I just thought it was a house fire. Now I find out all this, and I go, ‘Wow!’ You know?”
“I couldn’t believe all this shooting and bodies laying around,” he continued. “I just thought the bodies were laying around out here from smoke inhalation. I was trying to drag this guy over and the other guy over.”
The property owner told authorities that the gunman had recently been evicted from the complex and that one of the victims was the 65-year-old on-site property manager.
He said the manager had worked there for 33 years, KTRK reported.
The gunman shot and wounded two more people in the chaos but only one of them was taken to the hospital for treatment, KHOU reported.
Neighbors were still searching for the murdered property manager’s three-year-old dog, Duke, who was also shot when the gunman lured his victims outside.
The property owner said the gunman had lived in the complex since 2013 but hadn’t paid rent and was evicted, KTRK reported.
He said the shooter turned in his keys on Saturday, just hours before his brutal rampage.
“It’s really crazy,” Lamb said. “It’s brutal murder. I mean, the guy lost his head. I don’t know. We’ll work through it one way or another. Little by little. Each individual. Some of the guys that live over here, they’re going to have to find another place to live.”
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner credited the responding officer for saving lives, KTRK reported.
“Our officer arrived and took action, and for that, I’m very proud of him,” Chief Finner said. “He’s a seven-year veteran out of the south Gessner division. And again, as usual, per policy, he’ll be put on administrative leave.”
The police chief said bodycam video of the shooting would be released within 30 days, in accordance with police department policy, KHOU reported.
“I’ve seen things that I haven’t seen before in 32 years, and it’s happened time and time again,” Chief Finner said. “People ask the police chief, ‘Why?’ We don’t know why… we just ask that the community come together.”