Reward increases to $15,000 in deadly shooting of 62-year-old woman at southeast Houston gym

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Chief Troy Finner are asking for the public’s help in finding who killed a 62-year-old woman outside of a gym in southeast Houston last Thursday.

Turner and Finner were joined by the family members of Elsa Mikeska and Crime Stoppers of Houston Monday at 3:30 p.m. during a news conference to seek the public’s help in identifying her killers. Turner announced an additional $10,000 reward to the $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. He also said local businesses and owners have agreed to give more on several other cases.

“People really loved her,” said Angel Nicole Rocha, Mikeska’s daughter. “I mean we’ve been really overwhelmed with how many people have reached out to us.”

The family said their Mikeska has always attended all family events and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. Rocha said she never met a stranger. She was also a diehard fan of Houston sports.

“To the people who know these people, imagine it being your mom or your wife or your sister or your cousin. It doesn’t matter, it’s someone you know and love. Please come forward because it’s what you would want. She didn’t deserve this,” said Harley Mikeska, another daughter.

RELATED: Surveillance video released of suspects accused of shooting woman to death in front of southeast Houston gym

Police said Mikeska was killed when suspects confronted her and shot her as she arrived at her gymnasium in the 10500 block of Fuqua Street about 4:50 a.m. on June 17.

Houston police released surveillance video of the suspects and a vehicle wanted in connection to the shooting.

According to the Houston Police Department, Mikeska was just trying to go to the gym when she was gunned down. Police said she arrived at the gym, parked her car, and got out when three men in their mid-20s pulled up in an older model, white Chevy Suburban.

Two of the men got out of the vehicle as Mikeska began walking toward the gym, police said. Authorities said the men said something to her and she began running towards the gym.

At that point, police said the men opened fire and the woman was struck in the back. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the three men fled the scene without stealing any of the woman’s belongings.

According to investigators, the men matched the description of three carjackers who tried to steal another woman’s vehicle about an hour before the shooting, just a few miles down the road. Police said the suspects are in their early to mid-20s with a slim build.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

Honoring Mikeska’s Life

Monday, outside the gym, friends, family, and Mikeska’s gym mates held a candlelight vigil to honor Mikeska’s life.

“She came in with some serious drive every single day,” Fabian Villarreal, Fit Life Personal Fitness Studio, said. “5 am on Monday through Friday. She was one of us.”

Crowds of family, friends and even strangers gathered outside the gym holding candles, bringing flowers to join the family in prayer.

“It’s honestly overwhelming to see all these people out here,” Rocha said.

Despite the rain, dozens of attendees stayed for hours. The parking lot at the gym was full.

“Elsa Mikeska was a piece of my heart,” a friend of the family said at the vigil. “Her friends, she loved as much as she loved anybody, and she was the rock of this family.”

The family shared several things about Mikeska, including that her spirit exuded youth and love. Even the grandchildren called her “Mommy,” the family said.

“She was not your average 62-year-old,” Rocha said. “In my head, she’ll always be 45.”

Family and friends shared the values that Mikeska taught them.

“It doesn’t matter what’s going on, it doesn’t matter what you’re going through, you’re there for each other. You stay by each other’s side,” Harley Mikeska said. “We have to try to pick up the pieces as much as we can and try to do what she would do.”

The family said they are hopeful that members of the public will help bring their loved one justice.

“Just keep praying. Keep the faith. She always believed,” Hanigan said.

The gym in coordination with the family started GofundMe account to help with funeral expenses:

The family is also starting their own fund for a reward for information leading to an arrest. The family’s Venmo account for this reward fund is @JusticeForElsa.

Family and friends held a vigil for the woman killed outside of a Houston gym
Family and friends held a vigil for the woman killed outside of a Houston gym

About the Authors:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.