HOUSTON – A seven-hour standoff ended after a Harris County man was found dead in his home, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot, authorities said.
The man had earlier exchanged shots with deputies who went to the house to check on his welfare.
It started around 10 a.m., when the man’s wife called 911, saying her husband was emotionally distressed and needed help.
When the first deputies arrived, the man began shooting at them, they said.
"The deputies entered the residence through an open door,” Sgt. Cedric Collier, with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said. “Once they entered the house, someone upstairs fired through the floor in the deputies' direction. Deputies returned fire, retreating from the house. Shots continued through an upstairs window where deputies fired shots.”
Neighbors on both sides of the house were told to evacuate and the street was closed off while negotiators moved in to try to convince the man to surrender.
Melvin Winfree was one of the residents who was not allowed back into his home.
"It's kinda scary 'cause we got schools over here where these kids -- make(s) it unsafe to walk through here,” Winfree said.
Deputies notified the Spring Independent School District in case students needed to be rerouted. Cooper Elementary School is less than a mile away, but at last check it was not on lockdown.
Police deployed a robot and sent it in to search the house while negotiators tried to make contact with the shooter by phone and over a portable public address system.
After several hours of searching, the robot sent back a video picture of the suspect lying still on the floor.
“Shortly afterwards, officers entered the residence, went upstairs. That's where they found the suspect on the floor, lying prone, deceased, with the weapon in proximity to his body. The initial indication is it was self-inflicted,” Collier said.
Homicide detectives are still investigating.
The man’s wife and 16-month-old daughter left the house this morning unharmed.
Deputies are not identifying the shooter.
Investigators say they still aren’t sure of a motive for the incident.