Man accused of nearly carjacking local TV news van appears in court

HOUSTON— The suspect accused of carjacking multiple vehicles, including a police unit and the attempted robbery of a KPRC2 news van, appeared in a Harris County courtroom for the first time late Tuesday.

Alex Jenkins was arrested toward the end of the day after he was spotted acting erratically by officers with the University of Houston Police Department, investigators said. Jenkins allegedly told the officers he had been committing crimes and was taken to the Houston Police Department.

Unauthorized use of a vehicle, aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and second-degree assault of a peace officer are just a few of the charges filed against the suspect.

Jenkins was denied bond for the aggravated robbery charge, and granted a $10,000 bail for the unauthorized use of a vehicle offense, and a total $200,000 bond for two counts of assault of a peace officer.

It all started about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday when the suspect allegedly stole a 2017 Chevy Malibu belonging to a newspaper delivery man at a Valero gas station on FM 1960.

Prosecutors said Jenkins was standing next to a reportedly stolen bicycle when the victim pulled into the gas station and went inside the convenience store to make a delivery. The suspect was reportedly caught on surveillance video driving off in the suspect’s car.

HPD officers thwart attempted carjacking of KPRC 2 reporter and cameraman Oct. 15 in downtown Houston.

A reporter and cameraman with KPRC2 news were on Texas Avenue near Chartres Street about 5 a.m. when a silver Chevy Malibu crashed into the side of their van. The driver reportedly jumped out of the car and pulled the cameraman out of the driver’s seat of the van.

He reportedly targeted the news van because he was running low on gas in the Malibu. Prosecutors said the suspect also hoped to use the broadcast equipment inside the van to “get his message out.”

The attempted carjacking was soon thwarted when officers driving a prison transport vehicle happened to pass by.

“[The officers] thought they were rolling up on an accident, and got out to assist the people involved,” HPD Lt. Larry Crowson said. “As they did that, the man ran from the live truck and started to assault the officers.”

During the confrontation, police said a female officer was injured. The suspect then reportedly got into the police unit and drove off.

During his escape, investigators said the suspect released the prison from the police cruiser about two blocks away. The prisoner, who has been identified as a 16-year-old boy, was quickly taken back into custody.

“Unfortunately, that car— because it’s not a regular patrol car, it’s used as a transport vehicle— doesn’t have the same type of tracking capabilities that patrol vehicles do.”

Police eventually found the patrol unit abandon behind some bushes on Produce Row and Old Spanish Trail.

The news outlet has identified the reporter as Sophia Ojeda.

Investigators confirmed the cameraman, Ojeda and the injured police officer were taken to the hospital in stable condition.