Tipster alerted police to suspect in possible Houston serial killings

If not for the sharp eye of a Houston resident, authorities say, a possible serial killer may have zeroed in on his n...

Posted: Jul 18, 2018 10:54 PM

If not for the sharp eye of a Houston resident, authorities say, a possible serial killer may have zeroed in on his next target.

But Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, a parolee suspected in three killings over the past several days, was taken into custody Tuesday morning, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

"It's possible he was casing the neighborhood in search of his next victim," the sheriff said. "So thanks to the alert work of that citizen and swift action, we were able to get involved."

Gonzalez said the tipster spotted a suspicious vehicle early Tuesday. It was the same Nissan Sentra that police said Rodriguez was likely driving.

After that resident called police, authorities realized Rodriguez was still in the car. Following a 14-minute pursuit through the neighborhood, Rodriguez was taken into custody without incident.

Deputy Jorge Reyes, who initiated the traffic stop when the license plate came back stolen, said once Rodriguez realized he couldn't escape, he pulled over and put his hands out the window.

Deputies found a pistol in the car.

"He didn't say anything," said Reyes, who has been with the sheriff's office for 4 1/2 years.

Forensic information that would tell whether the handgun was used in any of the crimes won't be available until Wednesday, Det. David Crane of the sheriff's office said.

Rodriguez is accused of two of the killings, Crane said. A third possible holding charge of capital murder could be added Wednesday after Houston police look at the evidence. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

The suspect was interviewed but didn't divulge much and made no admission of guilt, he said.

Rodriguez's arrest came hours after the sheriff warned of "a possible serial killer" on the loose.

Rodriguez, 46, is a registered sex offender who is on parole. Police said he cut off his ankle monitor a few days before the first shooting.

The first victim, Pamela Johnson, 62, was found dead Friday night inside her home in northwest Harris County after her family called authorities because they couldn't reach her.

Johnson's car was stolen from her home and later discovered at a nearby mall. That's when the Harris County Sheriff's Office reviewed the mall's surveillance video and made a connection with the suspect.

Two other people were found dead at different mattress stores Saturday and Monday.

Authorities said they also believe Rodriguez robbed a Metro bus driver early Monday and shot a driver last week. The driver who was shot is in serious condition but is stable and able to talk with his family, officials said.

Police have not released a possible motive in the killings. Crane said there is nothing to indicate a connection between any of the victims.

Gonzalez said the suspect has family members that live in the neighborhood where he was captured.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters that authorities are trying to determine whether Rodriguez committed other crimes they don't yet know about.

He also said Harris County is looking to form a task force that would focus on parolees who had committed serious crimes.

"We've got to up our game, because there's not enough to deal with parolees," he said. "But we're going to change that."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Few Clouds
91° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 96°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 97°
Oxford
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 93°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 92°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather