Medical Examiner’s Office officially identifies suspect in West University area shooting rampage

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Gunman was a “disgruntled lawyer,” police say

HOUSTON — The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has identified Nathan DeSai as the suspect in Monday’s West University area shooting rampage.  Seventy-five rounds were exchanged before officers shot and killed DeSai, after he injured nine unsuspecting victims.


The Houston Police Department Interim Police Chief Martha Montalvo said DeSai was a lawyer and there were issues concerning his law firm. The shooting began around 6:29 a.m. Monday on Weslayan near Bissonet.  Officers with HPD, Bellaire PD, West University PD and Southside Place PD responded to the scene.

Police located the suspect in the 4400 block of Law Street, and the shooter opened fire on officers.  Officers returned fire, killing the suspect.

The suspect was in possession of a .45 semi-automatic hand gun and a sub-machine rife commonly referred to as a Tommy gun that was inside his vehicle. Police said both weapons were legally purchased at Texas stores — the rife in 2009 and the handgun in 2011. Montalvo said the suspect did have a concealed handgun license.

The suspect reportedly didn’t say a word as he fired and injured nine people, including two victims who remain in critical condition at Ben Taub Hosptial and Memorial Herman Trauma Center, police said. Both victims are expected to survive their injuries, according the their families.

A second victim who was also taken to Ben Taub hospital has been reported in good condition. Three other victims were taken to Southwest Memorial Herman hospital and have since been discharged, authorities said. The remaining three injured people were not shot but had something in there eye and were released at the scene.

“We have high hopes that all people are going to survive their injuries,” a chief medical officer said.

Three of the nine victims had something in their eyes (were not shot) and were released at the scene, another three were taken to Southwest Memorial Herman Hospital but have since been discharged and one is reportedly in good condition at , a chief medical officer said.

Houston investigators later discovered thousands of rounds of ammunition and multiple weapons inside the suspect’s home and 260 rounds of live ammunition inside his vehicle.

HPD Homicide Capt. Dwayne Ready said the shooter was wearing military-style entire, but the captain could not confirm the nationality of the clothing. Investigators found several vintage Nazi and Civil War memorabilia at the suspect’s residence, Ready said. However, police said they don’t believe the items are connected to the suspect’s motive.

So far, investigators said the shooting doesn’t appear to be motivated by terrorism. Officers also believe the suspect acted alone, Ready said.

The scene of the shooting and the suspect’s home are still being processed by investigators, the captain said. As of now, investigators have collected some 160 pieces of evidence from the scene.

Witnesses said the shooter appeared to be shooting at “any and everything.” Multiple people were shot before the gunman was taken down.

One man had just dropped his wife off at work when he heard the chaos unfold.

“We went to Randalls to get coffee and we heard a bunch of gunshots going back and forth, really loud shots and we got outside and we heard even more shots. All we know now is there are bombs and everything going on,” Lee Dickerson said.

Skip Cornelius rushed to the scene after learning his son was one of the victims.

“He was shot in the arm, but he’s doing well and I am on my way to the hospital to see him,” Cornelius said. “I haven’t talked to him, my wife talked to him on the phone. He called right after it happened and so we jumped in the car and came.”

Cornelius said he believes his son was sitting inside his car when he was shot.

“The passenger window is shot out and it looks like the bullet is still lodged inside the front driver’s door. I assume he was in the car, but I haven’t talked to him yet,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius described the moment he received the call, and what he learned after arriving to the scene.

“When the phone rings that early in the morning, you don’t really know, but he is OK. He made sure he told his father that he was OK, so I wasn’t terrified. I don’t know anything that exactly happened because I wasn’t here. I’m told that the shooting came from the north and most of the victims were in the other parking lot across the street,” Cornelius said.

Victims were transported to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, Ben Taub Hospital and Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center.

Authorities said three people were treated and released at the scene. One person was listed in critical condition, one was  in serious condition, and the other victims were listed in either good or fair condition.


Montalvo said the shooter lived in the neighborhood, and multiple weapons were  found inside his Porsche Boxster. The HPD Bomb Squad was called out to search the vehicle.

A shelter-in-place was immediately issued for the West University area, but that has since been lifted.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said it’s early in the investigation, but it appears the shooter was disgruntled and angry over business relationships at his law firm. Records show DeSai has not practiced a case in Harris County since 2015.

There is no indication a second shooter was involved.

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