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A man wanted in connection with at least three murders in the Houston area was captured Tuesday morning after a week-long crime spree, authorities said.
Deputies briefly pursued Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, as he was spotted driving through the Houston area, tweeted Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Details of his arrest were not immediately known.
His capture comes hours after Gonzalez identified him as a possible serial killer and asked the public at a news conference Monday to be on the lookout for a gray Nissan Sentra he was last seen in.
“Our community can breath [sic] a sigh of relief this morning,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted, while asking people to review their security cameras and come forward if they have more information in the crimes.
Acevedo on Monday described Gilberto Rodriguez as a “person of strong interest” in the killings as well as two other crimes — a July 9 home invasion committed by an armed suspect and the robbery and shooting of a bus driver on Monday morning.
All three murder victims were killed by gunfire, Acevedo said.
The sheriff’s office said in a statement that Pamela Johnson, 62, was found dead inside her home in a northwest section of the county on Friday night after relatives were unable to reach her.
A PT Cruiser stolen from Johnson’s home was found on Saturday at a mall in Houston, the sheriff’s office said. After reviewing surveillance footage, investigators released images of a suspect identified Monday as Gilberto Rodriguez.
A second woman, Allie Barrow, 28, was found shot to death roughly a half-mile away, in the back of a mattress shop, NBC affiliate KPRC reported.
Barrow, an employee at Mattress Firm, was found by her manager.
A third person, Edward Magana, was found dead at a shopping center on Monday less than two miles away, the station reported. Magana also worked at a mattress store — Mattress One.
Acevedo said Gilberto Rodriguez had been on parole for unspecified crimes when he cut his ankle monitor a few days ago.
The chief added that it wasn’t clear if the murders were the work of a serial killer.
“A serial killer is three or more murders — separate homicides — usually without a motive,” he told reporters. “This guy’s motive appears to be robbery in a lot of cases.”
But during the news conference, Gonzalez said the evidence appeared to point in the direction of serial killer.
“That’s what we’re facing,” he added.
Responding to a tweet about a potential modus operandi, Gonzalez said the victims were mixed ages and genders, but connected to three areas in Houston or its suburbs — Cypress, Willowbrook and north Eastex.