HOUSTON– A gunman was shot dead by a Houston police officer after allegedly setting a fire to lure neighbors outside, killing three people in southwest Houston on Sunday morning, according to investigators.
Around 1 a.m., officers responded to a fire and one person down.
When the Houston Fire Department arrived at the scene, firefighters said the suspect had started shooting, prompting them to run for cover.
When Houston police officers arrived a short time later, an officer spotted the suspect and opened fire.
HPD confirmed the suspect died and described him as a male in his 40s.
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Investigators said they believe the suspect set fires to trick neighbors into coming out of their homes and shooting at them.
HPD chief Troy Finner said he believes the suspect may have been a disgruntled tenant who was evicted and retaliated against others living in the neighborhood.
“Our officer has arrived and taken action and I am very proud of him for that. He’s a seven-year veteran from Gessner’s Southern Division. And as usual, according to the guidelines, he will go into administration,” said Finner.
Finner said three victims were taken to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
One of the victims was the property manager of the rental complex for 33 years.
Investigators said the affiliate ABC Houston KTRK at the scene that two other victims survived with injuries.
Investigators believe the victims are local residents who live in the area.
“It’s shocking. I just thought it was a house fire. Now I find out all of this and I’m like, ‘Wow!’ You know? I couldn’t believe all that shooting and the bodies lying around. I just thought the bodies were out here from smoke inhalation. I was trying to pull this guy over and the other guy over,” neighbor Troy said Lamb. “It’s really crazy. It’s brutal murder. I mean, the guy’s lost his head. I don’t know. We’re going to work through it one way or another. Bit by bit. Every single one. Some of the guys over here live, they have to look for another place to stay.”
The American Red Cross arrived to provide assistance and resources to affected neighbors.
KTRK spoke to the landlord of the apartment building.
He estimates there are 10 units that are completely uninhabitable.
According to the landlord, the tenant had lived there since 2013 but was not paying rent and was evicted on Saturday.
Police said they found a shotgun and are working to find the cause of the fire, but it appears it was arson.
The victims’ identities are being withheld until families are notified.
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https://6abc.com/houston-violence-shooting-fire-police/12175208/ Houston violence: 5 shot, 3 killed by man who set fire to lure tenants outside; gunman killed by police, officials say