Houston police have released details surrounding the deadly mass shooting outside a west Houston business on Sunday. The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Dionisio Agustine Garza III, fired off 212 rounds, injuring several people and killing one before he was shot and killed by SWAT officers.
Here is what we know:
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, investigators outlined Garza’s movements. Garza drove from California on Wednesday and arrived to Houston on Saturday, then went to see some friends in town.
Investigators said Garza deliberately went off the radar around 4 o’clock, cutting off communication with friends and family members, then broke into a tire shop. He chose the shop simply because of its location.
“It seemed to be random, but we believe he picked it because of its tactical advantages it had over other areas,” Lt. John McGalin, HPD Homicide, said.
On Sunday, people were at a car wash when Garza walked out of the tire shop, armed, and opened fire. He aimed first at Eugene Linscomb, shooting the 56-year-old in the neck, killing him.
While people ran to safety, Garza went back into the tire shop, retrieved an AR 15 assault rifle, then came back out and started shooting at passing vehicles.
“He shot at arriving police officers, he struck two police officers, he struck several police vehicles,” McGalin said. “As he was shooting, he struck a line to a gas station next to the tire shop and caught it on fire. SWAT began to arrive on the scene, set up a perimeter and the threat was eliminated.”
Garza was killed.
When the shooting started, a resident who was armed, John Wilson, rushed to the scene and tried to help. McGalin said officers initially thought Wilson was a secondary shooter, but further investigation revealed he was not connected to the suspect.
“He [Wilson] is a resident in the area who came out to offer assistance and got out-gunned, and realized he was in a bad situation, tried to leave and was shot in the leg by the suspect as he was trying to get to safety,” McGalin said.
Acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo said Wilson was very brave, but they do not recommend citizens get involved in dangerous situations.
Wilson, 30, and a 59-year-old woman were both taken to the hospital and admitted to the ICU.
Two men, ages 24 and 50, sustained non-life threatening wounds and remain in stable condition.
Varian Fewell lives down the street from where all the action took place.
“I’ve got a 9-year-old and a 12- year-old and opened the back door and started hearing the live rounds going off,” he said. “These are crazy days and I believe it’s a good thing to be armed and to protect your family.”
Shayan Sidri’s parents also live in the neighborhood.
“It definitely could have been my mom and my dad because my dad actually made contact with the shooter. Eye contact,” Sidri said.
Investigators said Garza served in Afghanistan and was discharged in 2013, has had various jobs and suffered from depression.
His family indicated that he “wasn’t feeling right” when he left California and was trying to find work in Houston.
A backpack found at the scene was blown up by police. They referred to it as a “controlled detonation.”
Five bullets struck a police helicopter circling the scene. Photos of the damaged helicopter have been posted on the HPD Facebook page.
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Investigators found random writings from Garza and they don’t believe the shooting is linked to terrorism or a hate crime.
“It just appears to be someone who was in mental health crisis at this point,” McGalin said.