Authorities in Texas believe a registered sex offender cut off his ankle monitor before embarking on an apparently random “rampage” across the Houston area in recent days — leaving three people dead before his capture on Tuesday morning.
Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, was arrested after a tipster reported seeing a suspicious vehicle that turned out to belong to one of Rodriguez’s alleged victims.
He is expected to face three capital murder charges, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Police say the first of Rodriguez’s fatal victims was 62-year-old Pamela Johnson, killed in her northwest Harris County home on Friday night.
Authorities found Johnson’s body after relatives reported being unable to reach her. Her television, computer and jewelry were all missing. The following day, her PT Cruiser was located in the parking lot of Willowbrook Mall, about 12 miles away.
A review of mall surveillance video allegedly showed Rodriguez leaving the vehicle behind.
On Saturday night, a manager at a Houston Mattress Firm found the body of employee Allie Barrow, 28, in the store.
On Monday, police discovered another victim, a man, inside a Mattress One store in the area. That victim was identified as 57-year-old Eduardo Edmundo Magana, according to the Chronicle. His Nissan Sentra had been stolen.
Police issued a bulletin urging residents to notify them if they saw anything suspicious.
“If he’s hearing my voice, we’re coming for you,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a news conference last week.
“Best thing he can do is turn himself in before he gets himself hurt or anybody else,” Acevedo said.
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The chief described Rodriguez’s alleged crimes as a “rampage” apparently motivated largely by robbery, and he told reporters that authorities would stop at nothing to bring Rodriguez to justice.
Early Thursday morning, a tipster called 911 after spotting a Nissan Sentra in a residential neighborhood. Police arrived at the scene and found that Rodriguez was still in the vehicle.
An approximately 14-minute car chase ensued, but Rodriguez was captured and taken into custody.
Police say they found a pistol in the car. It has been sent for ballistics testing.
“It’s possible he was casing the neighborhood in search of his next victim,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, according to CNN. “So thanks to the alert work of that citizen and swift action, we were able to get involved.”
In addition to the three slayings, authorities believe Rodriguez is responsible for a home invasion on July 9 and the shooting of a bus driver on Monday, according to ABC News and the Chronicle.
Rodriguez’s criminal history goes back to 1989, according to the Chronicle, and he was at last paroled in September before moving to Harris County in December.
Authorities do not think the victims are connected.
Rodriguez is being held without bond and has not yet entered a plea. Court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.