HOUSTON (AP) — Eight people — including five children and three adults — were found dead inside a Houston-area home following the arrest of a man who exchanged gunfire with police, Texas authorities said Sunday.
Deputies were called to the home about 9 p.m. Saturday to perform a welfare check, Harris County Sheriff spokesman Thomas Gilliland told KHOU-TV. Gilliland said deputies subsequently received information indicating that a man inside the home was wanted on a warrant for aggravated assault on a family member.
Gilliland said while waiting for a High Risk Operations Unit to arrive at the scene, deputies spotted the body of a juvenile through a window. Four deputies then forced their way into the home, prompting the 49-year-old male suspect inside to begin shooting. Deputies pulled back and waited for the operations unit to arrive.
The man surrendered about an hour later.
“At this time we have what appears to be five children and three adults,” Gilliland said. “Ages and genders we do not have, and cause of death we do not have. The medical examiner will have to determine a cause of death.”
The relationship between the suspect and victims wasn’t immediately known. No further details were released.
“Homicide detectives have taken over the operation along with our crime scene unit. Due to the amount of victims and the proximity to the people in the house, it’ll be a scene that’s going on for a while.”
Alan Cartagena, 19, said he was attending a barbecue at a home a couple houses away. About 11 p.m., he said, deputies started going around the neighborhood knocking on doors.
“Cops were walking around with their handguns out, telling people to remain in their houses. They were also telling them to evacuate. It was extremely scary,” he said.
Cartagena said he heard one gunshot but wasn’t sure if there were more.