A fatal shooting spree in Houston has local officials revisiting the impact of domestic violence.
Investigators said a 7-month old pregnant woman was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, who also shot her mother and sister at the same home.
Then, the suspect drove to the home of the woman’s current boyfriend and shot him too, according to police. The other shooting victims are recovering at the hospital.
“Sadly this appears to be a case of domestic violence turn deadly," said Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo.
“I was shocked, trying to figure out why, how this could happen, I’m just trying to call 911 making sure my brother gets the help that he needs," said Esther Bass, the sister of the woman’s current boyfriend.
Acevedo said a few hours later police found the shooter, identified as Kendrick Dante Thomas, who was hiding in the cab of a relative’s 18-wheeler miles away. The discovery led to a brief SWAT standoff before Thomas turned the gun on himself, Acevedo said.
“This illustrates just how volatile domestic violence suspects can be," Acevedo said.
This kind of violence takes place all too frequently, said Emilee Whitehurst, the President & CEO Houston Area Women’s Center. The center has seen a dramatic increase, about 40%, in the number of calls.
“We are providing safety to more people right now than we normally do," Whitehurst said.
Whitehurst said the stresses of everyday life, especially during the pandemic, can be to blame in some domestic violence cases.
”It is not uncommon that those end up playing out in intimate relationships,” said Whitehurst.
Whitehurst said it is important for victims to know they’re not alone and resources are available before things turn tragic.
”We do not have to have these stories as part of our daily reality, and I want people to know that,” said Whitehurst.