Neighbors saw man drag estranged wife's body before shooting 2 others, police say

Shooter runs into woods, escapes police

HOUSTON – A man accused of shooting and killing his wife and shooting a man to death Monday in northeast Harris County also shot his neighbor Tuesday in northeast Houston, Houston police said. 

"We have high confidence that the cases are related," Houston police Sgt. Hector Garcia said.

Russell Cormier, 53, is charged with murder in the shooting death of his estranged wife, 61-year-old Fannie McWhite.

According to court documents, a neighbor told an investigator that he heard the couple arguing. He said he heard Cormier say, "I'm going to shoot your son."

"No, no," McWhite replied. 

Cormier said, "Well how do you like this?" The neighbor said he heard two gunshots.

The neighbor opened his front door and saw Cormier dragging McWhite’s body toward the street on Greencanyon Drive, court documents said. The neighbor told investigators that Cormier left the body in the yard and took off in a black Toyota Tundra, which belonged to McWhite.

Another neighbor told police she also heard two gunshots and saw Cormier dragging McWhite's body. 

According to court documents, McWhite’s son said it was not the first time Cormier threatened to kill him. The son, who was home at the time of the incident, said he did not see the argument or the shooting.

He was not hurt.

After driving off  in McWhite's Tundra, police said Cormier went to his home in the 600 block of Shotwell in northeast Houston, where he collected some belongings and then set his trailer on fire, police said.

Two hours later Cormier went to the Superior Truck Care Center on Kindred Street, where police said he shot and killed 61-year-old Thornton Bivens as he drove up to report for work.

Officers were called just before 4 a.m. Tuesday to the 6000 block of Shotwell after reports of another shooting.

They found a vehicle in the driveway riddled with bullet holes and the windows of the home shot out. One person was shot in the side, police said.

"We have every indication that the suspect waited outside of the home for him to come out when he shot him," Garcia said.

Police said Cormier confronted the victim with a shotgun loaded with bird shot, shot the man and ran into the woods.

The victim was taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive.

"He said, 'I will kill all of y'all. Anybody that's on Shotwell, I will kill them all,'" Jerome Lewis, a cousin of the victim, said. 

A neighbor told police that he tried to set the victim’s house on fire before running away.

Police searched the area with flashlights but did not find Cormier. Officers found two guns in the yard, a pistol and a rifle, investigators said.

Lewis said he's always steered clear of Cormier.

"He's threatened to kill Sam, he's threatened to kill Mr. Bruce down the street. He's threatened to kill me, and I'm like, 'Dude, OK.' So I just stay away from the dude," Lewis said.

Another neighbor said he was surprised to hear of Cormier's actions. The neighbor said Cormier always cleaned up the streets and cut people's trees. He said Cormier was a friendly neighbor. 

"He is an African American male (and) has a weapon we cannot account for. We can see where the impact is. We cannot find it. We assume he took it with him," Garcia said.

Cormier is described as 6 feet tall and 160 pounds.

He was last seen driving a black late 2000s model Dodge Stratus, with a missing front driver's side hub cap.

Police said Cormier is considered armed and dangerous.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to Cormier's arrest.

Anyone with information about the shooting or Cormier's whereabouts is asked to call the Harris County Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit at 713-247-9100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Tips can also be sent by texting TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES. All tipsters remain anonymous.

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