Two people died, including a suspect, in a mass shooting at the Memorial Drive Tire & Auto, leaving residents of west Houston in a state of panic.
The slain victim has been identified as Eugene Linscomb, 57, who was fatally shot inside a black Mercedes. Four other people and two deputy constables were reportedly injured. A helicopter and police patrol vehicles were also targeted.
The suspect gunman was killed by a member of the SWAT team. He has been identified as Dionisio Garza III, an army veteran from San Bernardino County, California.
The information was released after the police discovered a backpack at the crime scene that contained bullets and a birth certificate.
HPD looking through backpack, bullets, & other items found. Police say bag was detonated yesterday. Unsure of owner. pic.twitter.com/sA0OTmqkyG— Brandon Walker (@KPRCBrandon) May 30, 2016
While updates on the incident are still coming in, here’s what we know about the alleged shooter so far:
Garza is a U.S. Army veteran who served four tours of duty in Afghanistan. He also received several honors, including the Afghanistan campaign medal with two campaign stars as well as the Army Achievement Medal.
However, the veteran had recently expressed anti-government sentiments on social media. His father, a missionary whose name has not been revealed, told Click 2 Houston that his son was suffering from PTSD.
“We have not received confirmation, but I strongly suspect. I really believe this is a PTSD thing,” he stated. “On the internet he met some people or some people that believed like him. ‘It's better to go to Texas.’ He was trying to get us all to go over there and you know go live in a compound. That kind of talk, you know? That wasn't my son," the man said.
The motive of the shooting remains unknown but the Houston Chronicle reports, citing statements from witnesses, that Garza railed “against homosexuals, Jews and Walmart,” before indiscriminately firing toward bystanders and the police, “yelling that the world was coming to an end.”
“Y'all calm down. I'm not going to kill y'all, y'all are Christians," the shooter said to Paris Nichols’ wife Felicia, who sat down to pray after Garza killed Linscomb in his car. Nichols is the owner of Memorial Hand Car Wash situated near the crime scene.
As personal details of the shooter are yet to be released, a Facebook page, believed to be Garza’s, indicates he graduated from Rancho Cucamonga High School in California and enlisted in the Army in 2009.
"You know he was rambling off about the economy collapsing, you know,” his father added. “And that something was going to happen by Monday, that kind of stuff. Of course you look back now and there were signs. There were signs.”