Houston mass shooting: death toll reaches 2, suspect identified

Houston: Police have identified the suspect in the west Houston mass shooting as a 25-year-old former soldier from California who has served in Afghanistan, even as the death toll has reached two.

Dionisio Garza III of San Bernardino county, who was shot dead by a SWAT officer, has previously served in the military and was posted in Afghanistan. He had recently expressed anti-government sentiments. He was discharged from active duty in 2014, and has no criminal history.

A second man identified as Byron Wilson is no longer a suspect and was in fact a Good Samaritan trying to help in the shooting. He was shot by Garza as he tried to help and fight back. He was critically injured but is expected to survive.

Two persons were killed, including the suspect, and six others were injured in the Sunday’s shooting.

The medical examiner yesterday identified the second deceased in the shooting as Eugene Linscomb. One of the survivors was saved in part by a 17-year-old Boy Scout.

Nick Latiolais was driving with his mom to a doctor’s appointment when he saw a group of people surrounding a man lying on the road.

“He was in like, a lot of pain. He was screaming a lot. He was just saying, Help me! Help me! and he was grabbing his leg and I saw some blood around one of his legs,” Latiolais said.

The man was one of the seven innocent gunshot victims. Latiolais rendered aid as the shooting rampage was underway. The motive behind the shooting is unknown.

One of the deceased is a suspect who was shot by a SWAT officer. The other is a citizen who was shot and killed inside a vehicle, police said.

According to authorities, the civilian was in his 50s and was a customer at an auto detail shop where the suspect shot him with a pistol. The suspect was also armed with an AR-15 that was used to shoot at officers.

Three civilians, two men and one woman, were among the wounded. Their injuries are not life-threatening. Two officers were also wounded. One was shot in hand while the other was shot in chest but was saved by his his bullet-proof vest.

The first officer who pulled up to the scene was immediately shot at, leaving 21 bullet holes in his windshield. An Houston Police Department (HPD) helicopter also had five bullet strikes.

Police believe the deceased suspect shot at HPD’s helicopter and that officer. Officials say the neighbourhood is now secure and the shelter-in-place has been lifted. The active shooter situation was initially reported at Memorial and Wilcrest drives Sunday morning.