At least two people died, including a suspect, after gunmen armed with high-powered rifles opened fire Sunday in Houston, aiming at bystanders and a police helicopter.
The slain victim was shot in the head inside his vehicle, interim Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo told reporters. One of the suspects also was killed, and another was critically injured, police said.
A motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately clear.
“We do not know what started this,” Montalvo said, “but what we do know is they were shooting randomly, just at whoever.”
A total of eight people were shot, including the suspects, according to Montalvo.
Two deputies were injured in the shooting. One was treated and released after his vest saved him; the other was shot in the hand, Montalvo said. Three other victims were hospitalized.
Montalvo described the suspects as men wielding AR-15 rifles.
Several people in the area said their vehicles were shot at, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
Police posted a photo on Facebook showing a patrol vehicle’s windshield riddled with bullets, saying the officer inside was “lucky to be alive.”
Videos posted on social media showed police cars racing through the neighborhood as gunshots rang out and a plume of smoke rose overhead.
As a SWAT team and a police helicopter responded to the scene, the gunmen opened fire at the chopper, Montalvo said. The aircraft was hit by at least five bullets, she said.
Authorities haven’t released further details about the victims or the suspects.
A fire also broke out at a nearby gas station during the shooting. Investigators believe it may have been caused by gunfire hitting a gas pump, Montalvo said.
The shooting left residents in west Houston rattled, CNN affiliates reported.
“These kind of things can happen in any neighborhood. It doesn’t really matter where you live,” Montalvo said. “But the police were here. They responded very very quickly at their own peril.”