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Police search for gunman in homeless encampment homicide near Midtown

HOUSTON – Houston police continue to search for a gunman after a man was found shot to death in a parking lot Tuesday night on Caroline St. and Wheeler Avenue, near a homeless encampment.

That deadly shooting overnight is not the first homicide the Houston Police Department has responded to in two months.

One person was killed in October and another in August.

The city of Houston is speaking out about the court order keeping it from moving the homeless camp.

A homeless man in his 50s was found dead Midtown late Tuesday night just feet away from the homeless encampment.

"I ran and I grabbed my gun and I looked out the window and then maybe five minutes later I saw police," said Patterson Nguyen, who's newly purchased home looks out over the crime scene. "Hopefully they fix the problem and then after that the whole neighborhood becomes a lot better."

HPD says just before midnight, witnesses heard arguing then gunshots and saw a man riding away on a bicycle.

About two weeks earlier, on Oct. 22, there was another argument near the homeless encampment, this time on Caroline and Barbee Streets.

Someone pulled out a gun and shot a man, also in his 50s several times and then took off.

The victim died at the scene.

Witnesses said they were afraid to come forward.

On Oct. 12, HPD arrived on San Jacinto Street and Wheeler Avenue for a stabbing in which police say a homeless man was stabbed in the chest but survived.

And back in August, another man found shot near the homeless camp.

HPD says the man was found on Wheeler with multiple gunshot wounds and later died at a hospital.

In April, Houston City Council passed an ordinance banning public encampments.

But just days later, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit claiming the law was unconstitutional.

In August a federal judge issued an injunction blocking the new legislation.

Alan Bernstein, communications director with the city of Houston, issued a statement. It reads:

"The city is trying to lift the injunction. What it does is stop the one thing the city thought it had, the power for encampments not to grow and they have grown since the injunction. 

"The mayor is deeply concerned, he has repeatedly said this. We must respect the court order but every other measure the city has taken to provide public safety, the city will continue to provide to the best of its ability."

"HPD also said there is a patrol unit that keeps watch over a 12-by-eight-block radius from Alabama  to Rosedale Streets and from Main Street to Almeda Road and those officers are there on a daily basis.