HOUSTON – An increased reward of $25,000 is being offered in hopes of finding the person who shot and killed the owner of Stewart Cadillac. Joseph John Stewart, who was a well-known and beloved figure in the Houston community, was found shot to death at his Montrose area home.
Police found Stewart's body lying inside his townhome in the 500 block of West Bell Street around 11:45 a.m. on May 7 after a neighbor called 911.
The neighbor said he heard gunshots, then saw a man running across the street, police said.
HPD held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce Stewart Cadillac and Crime Stoppers is now offering up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for Stewart's death.
Chris Arredondo, a longtime friend of Stewart's, pleaded for information.
"He was just a good person. He would help everybody out. Anybody that needed help, he would help them out," Arredondo said.
"It's not right. I hope y'all catch them," David Jeremiah, a minister and also a friend of Stewart said. "They had no right to kill him; he helped too many people."
According to officers, Stewart was returning home after having drinks at Junction Bar and dinner at Vic and Anthony's. He got out of his Cadillac SUV and began walking into his garage when he was approached by a male suspect wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a mask, according to HPD. He was then shot multiple times in the lower part of his body.
When police arrived, Stewart's SUV was still warm and the garage door was up.
Houston police said three armed men in a white Jeep tried to rob Stewart about two weeks before the deadly shooting. Friends said he fought off his attackers. Investigators told KPRC 2 that his murder is likely linked to whatever happened that night.
Police said they have not ruled out robbery as a motive.
"Joe was the best man in the world," employee Alice Davis said. "Joe would give you the shirt off of his back. Joe would do anything for you. Joe was not the person or conflict of trouble. No enemies. None. So whoever (did) this to him did not know him for them to do this to Joe."
Stewart Cadillac released the following statement:
"Joseph Stewart was a beloved friend and a caring individual that cherished and supported his community. This tragic incident has already impacted so many, and we are truly thankful and appreciative of all our community's caring support during our time of loss.
At this time, due to the ongoing investigation, we cannot make any further comment regarding the incident. We fully support the Houston Police Department (HPD) as they pursue this ongoing investigation. If anyone from the public has any information regarding the investigation, please contact HPD directly.
Stewart Cadillac will remain open and continue normal operations under the guidance and leadership of the owner and operator, Bill Driskill and the general manager, Kevin Allen. Information on the memorial service for Mr. Stewart is forthcoming. We will provide this information as it becomes available.
Due to the gravity of this tragedy, Stewart Cadillac will not be accepting request for interviews at this time.
We appreciate your respect to our privacy as we mourn our loss."