HOUSTON – Four men in their 20s are in Houston police custody after an attempted catalytic converter theft turned into a shooting situation in west Houston, police said Friday.
The men were arrested and could face charges of aggravated robbery and attempted capital murder after the “dangerous incident,” Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said at a news conference Friday morning.
Police said the shooting happened when would-be victims of a catalytic converter theft in a Toyota Tundra truck and another vehicle, a van, followed a vehicle that held men who police said tried to take the pricey car parts from the Tundra, which had been parked at a business on Dairy Ashford.
As the victim and the van chased the suspected thieves, the suspects’ vehicle hit another vehicle that the mother and her child were traveling in.
The mother -- thinking she was in a car wreck -- pulled over into a parking lot where she saw the suspects’ vehicle, police said. The suspects’ vehicle at that time was being penned in by the catalytic converter victims who had chased them in the Tundra and the accompanying van. Four of the suspects exited their vehicle on foot and then started shooting multiple shots at the victim’s truck that had boxed them in.
The shooting happened in the 12400 block of Katy Freeway inbound.
“He shot at me three times,” a man, who wished to remain unidentified, told KPRC2.
Houston police said though the truck was hit at least three times, but no one was hurt.
A Harris County Constable Precinct 1 deputy saw the shooting, called it in, and other law enforcement agencies responded as the suspects fled on foot into a four-story parking garage. Authorities arrived on the scene, secured the area and the suspects surrendered on top of the parking garage, police said.
After initial reports of multiple suspects, Houston police said there were only four people involved.
“It was a great collaboration by everybody,” Satterwhite said. “Catalytic converter thefts...it’s a real problem for us. A lot of it is organized. So it’s a huge problem and we’re looking into every part of it (from those stealing them to those that are selling them). ... It’s actually been a problem for some time for us. ... It is a challenge that we have. It’s just a real problem that we have for the city. We need to look at every way to stop this illegal industry, which is what it is.”
Satterwhite said the four men, who have not been identified, would face aggravated robbery charges, and the suspects accused of firing their weapons could face attempted capital murder charges.