HOUSTON - Houston police are searching for a serial robbery suspect accused of terrorizing a displaced flood victim by shooting out the windows of her car while she held her 2-year-old son.
Lonnice Crews was forced to leave her home in the Woodland Trails subdivision in northwest Houston when several inches of floodwater inundated it. A few days before the robbery, she’d given birth to her daughter by Cesarean section and was still in pain.
“I was in a lot of pain, mentally and physically. I was in a lot of pain. That was a lot,” Crews said.
She moved her mother, her 2-year-old son, and her newborn daughter into a motel in the 12000 block of Northwest Freeway.
On Sept. 4, Crews said, she drove into the parking lot after shopping for her son’s birthday party, and a man walked up to her car and pointed a gun at her head.
She said he demanded money from her and keys as she exited the car. She said she was able to reach into the back seat for her son.
"I had my phone in my hand. I dropped my phone and started begging for my life. 'Please don’t shoot. Please, don’t shoot. I have kids. I have kids,'" Crews said.
She said she tried to back away from the gunman and he fired several shots into the air. Crews said he then drove the car to the opposite end of the parking lot and shot out several of its windows from inside the car before driving off.
“I still think about it today,” Crews said. “I’m still, like, looking over my shoulder, and it really hurt. I don’t know why anyone would do that, especially at a time like that. I just lost everything and he take the last thing I’m holding onto, which is my vehicle.”
Police found the car abandoned about a week later and were able to identify the suspect from fingerprints found inside.
They identified the robber as 25-year-old Juan Jesus Santillan.
Police believe Santillan committed at least three other armed robberies in one day.
Police said besides robbing Crews, he’s also carjacked another man later that day and robbed the clerk at the Crossland Suites at 5959 Guhn Road.
Santillan is charged with aggravated robbery.
“He has no heart. He has, really, no soul. He needs to be caught so he won’t ever do this to nobody again,” Crews said.
Houston Police Department Robbery detectives are still looking for Santillan. Anyone with information about him is asked to call Houston Crimestoppers at 713-222-8477. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered.
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