Houston gunman kills three people after setting fires at homes, police say

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Four people were dead after a man set a residence on fire, shot at people fleeing and was then killed by a police officer early Sunday in Houston, authorities said.

Just after 1 am, the city’s police and fire departments received calls about a fire and shooting at a house used as a rental facility, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said at a news conference. Firefighters arrived first but had to take cover when the gunman opened fire, although it was not clear if he was firing at them.

Soon after that, police officers got to the scene and found the shooter in a parking lot across the street from the house. An officer shot and killed the man, who was dressed in black and armed with a shotgun, Finner said. Two residents were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third died at a hospital.

“I’ve seen things that I haven’t seen before in 32 years,” the police chief said. “And it’s happened time and time again, and people ask the police chief and police leaders, ‘Why?’ And we don’t even know right now. We just ask that the community come together.”

Authorities did not name the people killed. They said the gunman was in his 40s and the victims were men between the ages of 40 and 60. In addition to those who were killed, a man was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm. One other man had minor injuries that did not require a hospital visit.

The gunman had recently been told he would be evicted, Finner said. “That may have been a trigger point for him, but I don’t know,” he said. “That’s part of the investigation.”

The officer who shot the suspect is a seven-year veteran of the force and has been placed on administrative leave under Houston Police Department policy. The district attorney’s office is investigating, and the police agency will conduct its own investigation.

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