A “possible serial killer” has been accused of killing three people after sawing off his ankle monitor while on parole in Texas, officials said.
Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, is accused of attacking several people and fatally shooting three in a series of incidents in the Harris County and Houston area beginning on July 9, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Monday, as the search for the wanted man continued.
“This is a person of strong interest in a series of murders in our city in the last few days who’s been on a rampage that we believe are potentially related,” Acevedo said. “This person should be considered armed and extremely dangerous."
Rodriguez, a registered sex offender who was released from prison last year, was on parole when he allegedly cut off his ankle monitor and broke into an occupied home on July 9. There, Rodriguez allegedly robbed a couple in their 80s at gunpoint, KTRK-TV reported.
He went on to allegedly break into the home of 62-year-old Pamela Johnson, who he shot and killed before stealing her television, computer and jewelry, according to reports.
Johnson was a widow, who was known for reading the Bible and baking. She was mostly deaf, but never let her disability stop her from providing for herself, loved ones told KTRK-TV.
Authorities discovered her dead in her home Friday after her family reported they were unable to reach her.
Johnson’s car was stolen from her home and later found at a nearby mall, where surveillance video allegedly captured Rodriguez.
The following day, Rodriguez allegedly shot and killed Allie Barrow, 28, inside a Mattress Firm near the mall. Barrow’s body was found between two mattresses in the back office, officials said.
Edward Magana was found dead Monday in a nearby Mattress One store, where the 57-year-old father of four from El Salvador worked, KPRC-TV reported.
Investigators believed Magana was killed shortly after his lunch break that day.
"At this point I would have to say that from all evidence what we’re seeing so far, that’s what we’re facing right now — a possible serial killer," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters.
That same day, a METROLift driver was robbed and shot near a gas station, where the man was able to get help for himself, authorities said. The man was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.
Police spent days searching for Rodriguez, who they said was considered armed and extremely dangerous, and warned residents not to take action if they encountered him.
On Tuesday, a Houston resident spotted a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra, which matched the description of the car Rodriguez was believed to have been driving. The resident called police, who responded and found Rodriguez allegedly still in the vehicle.
Following a brief chase, Rodriguez was taken into custody. A pistol was allegedly found in the car.
"It's possible he was casing the neighborhood in search of his next victim," Gonzalez said. "So thanks to the alert work of that citizen and swift action, we were able to get involved. We're very relieved this morning because again, we feel that he was possibly casing the area."
Officials have not released a possible motive in the killings.