A man evicted from a Houston apartment building shot five other tenants, killing three of them, on Sunday morning after setting fire to the house to lure them out, police said. Officers fatally shot the gunman.
The incident happened at about 1 am on Sunday in a mixed industrial-residential neighbourhood in south-west Houston. Police and fire crews responded to the apartment house after reports of the fire, police Chief Troy Finner said.
The gunman opened fire, possibly with a shotgun, on the other tenants as they emerged from the house, Finner said. Two were dead at the scene, and one died at a hospital. Fire teams rescued two other wounded men, who were hospitalised with non-life-threatening wounds, he said.
The man then opened fire as the firefighters battled the fire, forcing them to take cover until police officers spotted the gunman and shot him dead, Finner said.
No identities have been released, and Finner said no firefighters or officers were wounded.
“I’ve seen things I have not seen before in 32 years, and it has happened time and time again,” Finner said. “We just ask that the community come together.”
A neighbour, Robin Ahrens, told the Houston Chronicle that he heard what he initially thought were fireworks as he prepared for work.
“I’m just fortunate that I didn’t go outside because he probably would have shot me too,” he told the newspaper.
He said the shooter, who had colon cancer, was behind on his rent, jobless and was recently notified that he was being evicted.
“Something must have just hit him in the last couple of days really hard to where he just didn’t care,” he said. “And that’s why he did what he did. ... Nothing else you can really do when you are at that point.”
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