A Texas man dressed in black set fire to a multi-family building before shooting those who fled early Sunday morning, Houston police said. Photo courtesy of Houston Police Department/Twitter
Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A Texas man dressed in black set fire to a multi-family building before shooting those who fled early Sunday morning, Houston police said.
"I always like to start off by saying 'good morning' but to be honest with you, it is not a good morning in our city," Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said during an early morning news conference.
Finner said that police responded around 1:07 a.m. to the multi-family facility that rents rooms in the 8000 block of Dunlap St. in the Braeburn neighborhood of Houston after the police department and Houston Fire Department received 911 calls.
"This suspect unfortunately and very sadly and very evilly set fire to several residences, laid wait for those residents to come out and fired upon them," Finner said.
The suspect, described as a Black man in his 40s, started to shoot toward firefighters who responded and attempted to put out the fires, Finner said.
"I don't know if he was firing in their direction, but they had to take cover," Finner said. "Shortly thereafter, an HPD officer arrived, spotted the suspect in the parking lot just across the street from this facility in a prone position."
Finner said the suspect was dressed in all black and armed with a shotgun. The police officer who responded shot the suspect dead and a shelling casing was found next to the suspect's body.
Two of the victims who died at the scene were white men in their 60s, and the third victim -- a Black man in his 40s was transported to a local hospital where he died.
Victims who were injured included a male in his 40s transported to the hospital with gunshot wound to his arm, and another male who ran away was injured but not transported to a local hospital, Finner said.
"It's just sad what's going on in our nation," Finner said.
"I've seen things I haven't seen before in 32 years and it's happened time and time again and people ask the police chief and the police leaders why, and we don't even know why right now."
Finner said he was "proud" of the officer and firefighters who responded who "put their lives on the line."
"Our officer arrived and took action, and for that I am very proud of him," Finner said. Finner said that the officer is a seven-year veteran of the force and will be put on an administrative leave, per department policy after an officer-involved shooting.
Michael Mire, an assistant fire chief with the Houston Fire Department, said during the news conference that firefighters "still focused on possible victims inside the structure" as they retreated from the gunfire.
"There were two that they were able to pull out," Mire said.
He said fire investigators have conducted a preliminary investigation that found that the blaze appears intentional.
"We're told that the suspect was recently notified of an eviction," Finner said. "He's been a long-time resident here and that may have been a trigger point for him, I don't know, but that's going to be a part of the investigation."