'He pulls up right next to me': KPRC2 photographer recounts spotting crime spree suspect
HOUSTON – A KPRC2 photographer who was covering the manhunt Tuesday for a suspect in a series of homicides saw the man just seconds before authorities arrested him.
Cesar Martinez, who has worked at KPRC for 12 years, was in the northwest Harris County neighborhood where authorities had stepped up patrols as part of their search to find Jose Gilberto Rodriguez.
Authorities named Rodriguez a suspect in a spree of crimes that started eight days ago which included three homicides, a shooting and a home invasion.
Martinez said he was recording video of the area when he noticed a car near him.
“He pulls up right next to me and looks right at me, Martinez said. “I’m thinking, ‘This looks like our suspect,’ because he had tattoos, he was bald and he was (driving) a gray Nissan.”
Martinez said Rodriguez observed the stop sign at the intersection and continued down the street. Shortly after, two sheriff’s office cruisers sped by and began a traffic stop on the vehicle.
“I’m shooting him getting pulled over, and I’m thinking, ‘This is over,’ Martinez said. “Then, he takes off.”
Martinez said deputies began pursuing the vehicle, and he jumped in his truck and tried to follow the chase. He said he had a hard time keeping up because the chase ran through stop signs and traffic lights as it sped through the neighborhood.
Eventually, the chase ended near Eldridge Parkway and Wortham Landing Drive, where Rodriguez surrendered to deputies. Authorities said they found a gun in the vehicle.
“When I looked at him, I didn’t see a guy who was nervous – a guy who was being hunted,” Martinez said. “He was just casually driving through the neighborhood.”
Martinez said this was a first in his career as a news photographer.
“I’ve been in this business a long time,” Martinez said. “That’s never happened, where I’ve seen a guy before he gets captured like that.”
Looking back, Martinez said, he's grateful Rodriguez was taken into custody without any serious injuries.
"I'm just lucky he didn't want to do anything to me," Martinez said.
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