5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, September 23

KPRC 2 Investigates: Police say thieves targeting catalytic converters at higher rate than ever before
KPRC 2 Investigates: Police say thieves targeting catalytic converters at higher rate than ever before

Here are things to know for Thursday, September 23:

1. 17-year-old faces capital murder charge after Houston police officer’s 14-year-old son fatally shot in Kingwood

Montgomery County deputies arrested a 17-year-old suspect Wednesday after a Houston police officer’s 14-year-old son was fatally shot in Kingwood Monday night, authorities said.

Bryan Smith Jr. is charged with capital murder in connection with the 14-year-old’s shooting death.

The case remains under investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators are combing through evidence, conducting interviews and executing additional search warrants.

Authorities said they have not yet determined a motive in the shooting and added that the teenagers both attended Porter High School and were considered friends.

Read more.

2. Grieving mother fulfills late son’s life long dream, demands justice after he was fatally shot on Westpark Tollway

A Missouri City mother is mourning the loss of her son Patrick Ivory Jr.

“I’m just taking it day by day. I’m still kind of in denial but the funeral home lady just left and it’s just kind of getting real,” said Ivory’s mother Cheryl Herron.

Ivory was shot and killed Monday night while driving near the Westpark Tollway in the 8200 block of Westpark Drive.

Houston police said there was no suspect or vehicle information available at this time.

Herron is asking anyone with information to come forward and report it to police.

“Please, please contact them and let them know whatever you saw, anything you saw let them know so this person can get off the street,” Herron said.

Read more.

3. Houston Health Department launches dashboard displaying wastewater virus level

The Houston Health Department and Rice University have launched an online public dashboard tracking the level of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Houston’s wastewater.

The interactive dashboard displays levels of the virus in samples collected from the city’s 39 wastewater treatment plants and many HISD schools, according to a news release. The data helps identify the prevalence of the virus and trends at the community level.

City officials said the health department, Houston Water, Rice University, and Baylor College of Medicine started testing the city’s wastewater in May 2020 to more quickly identify emerging outbreaks and hotspots needing interventions to help stop the spread of the virus.

Read more.

4. CenterPoint Energy alerts customers to likely increase in gas bills

Get ready for higher natural gas bills in 2022.

CenterPoint Energy sent a notice to customers explaining that the extraordinary increase in the price of gas during the February freeze cost the company $1.14 billion. It is asking the Railroad Commision, the state agency that regulates gas companies, for permission to pass that cost along to customers by spreading it out over 3 years on our monthly bills.

If the state approves the plan, customers will pay an average of $2.50 to $5 more per month. If CenterPoint doesn’t spread out the cost, they say it would cost the average customer between $15 and $40 more a month. We don’t when the RRC will consider the company’s request. If approved, the new rate increase will apply to bills in 2022.

Read more.

5. KPRC 2 Investigates: Police say thieves targeting catalytic converters at higher rate than ever before

Thieves are targeting catalytic converters over any other car part at an unprecedented rate in Houston, leaving thousands of dollars of damage behind for the victims.

Catalytic converters decrease vehicle emissions and have become the prime target of thieves because of the precious metals that are in short supply around the world.

All it takes is a battery powered saw and “in less than five minutes they’re done and gone,” according to Sergeant Tracy Hicks with the Houston Police Department.

A KPRC 2 Investigates review of police data showed the number catalytic converter thefts in the city jumped more than 2,000% since 2019, making them more targeted that tires, rims and tailgates.

Read more.

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