Boy, 4, alerts hotel employees to murder-suicide that killed his mother

By Leigh Frillici - Reporter, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Producer

HOUSTON - A woman and man are dead after an apparent murder-suicide at a hotel, police said, and the woman's 4-year-old son was the person who alerted employees about the shooting.

It happened about 12:15 a.m. at the Red Roof Inn at West Sam Houston Tollway and Westheimer Road.

Hotel guests said they were awakened shortly after midnight to the sound of gunfire.

“My wife woke me up this morning and said she heard something last night, like a pop,” said Clarence McKee, a guest at the hotel.

That pop is believed to be gunfire.

Family members identified the woman who died as 23-year-old Brittany Smith.

Smith and a man she had had a relationship with had been fighting over the phone for the past few weeks, according to family members. Smith's family members said the man was a Marine who unexpectedly arrived in Houston from California on Tuesday night.

Smith's family said she took her 4-year-old son and met the man at the hotel.

“The security officer advised that he was at the front desk when a 4-year-old male came up to the front desk and told him that a male had shot his mother,” said Houston police Lt. Larry Crowson.

People staying in a room across the hall from the scene said they were in shock

“I opened my door to the commotion of emergency response and I saw him, I guess he was the perpetrator of the crime or whatever, laying on the ground in a huge puddle of blood,” said Laci Allen, a guest at the hotel.

Police said they had been told by Marine Corps police to be on the lookout for a gray Dodge Charger with California plates that was being driven by a Marine. A vehicle matching that description was found in the hotel's parking lot Wednesday morning.

“They had one of their service members that was face-chatting some disturbing information," Crowson said of the Marine Corps notification. "They were able to figure out he was in Houston. They believed he was suicidal.”

The man's identity was not immediately released.

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