A woman died after she was carjacked inside her SUV which was parked at a church near east Houston. The robber – who also mugged an auto parts store nearby – carjacked the victim, left while she was still inside the SUV, and crashed, police said.
The victim, Jessica Garza, was identified by family members who were at the scene. According to them, Garza was a mother.
Police said that they received several calls around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday about a robbery and accident in the 600 block of Uvalde Road. Witnesses informed officers about the alleged suspect who committed the robbery, ABC 13 reported.
Suspect In Custody, Robbed A Liquor Store Before Being Arrested
The suspect was eventually arrested at Ralston Liquors but his identity was not released by police.
According to Ralston Liquors’ employees, the suspect held them hostages before police officers arrived at the scene. Dashauna Johnson, an employee at the store, said the man entered the store with his blood tracking down the floor. He told Johnson that she couldn’t leave.
“I was like, ‘Sir let us out. Let us out.’ He was like ‘No. Call the police. Call the police,'” Johnson recalled.
“I tried to get past him, but he wouldn’t move. So, I started hitting him with a stick. He started pulling on my arm trying to pull me back in.”
Witnesses of the incident helped the employees of the store escape.
Suspect Robbed Another Store Before Carjacking And Killing Garza
Officers, after detaining the suspect, discovered that he robbed another business and ran out when employees started to go after him. He then ran across the street, carjacked the SUV parked at a church, got into the vehicle while Garza was still inside the car.
According to police, the suspect attempted to push Garza out of the SUV, but the woman was still restrained by a seat belt and couldn’t leave. The suspect drove four to five blocks up the street, with Garza trying to get out. While all this was happening, the SUV rammed into five to six vehicles.
The SUV crashed and halted at a car wash. The suspect was able to flee the scene on foot, but Garza immediately died at the scene. According to police, the woman died due to her failure to get out of the SUV.
Investigation On-Going, Suspect Might Be Linked To a Robbery Killing of a 71-year-old Woman
An investigation by the HPD homicide detectives is currently in progress. According to LT. Larry Crowson of HPD, the suspect also robbed several businesses in the area on the same day
Just five days ago and a few blocks away from the Tuesday night incident, a 71-year-old woman who was leaving McDonald’s was a victim of a purse-snatching incident. She was robbed and killed.
Authorities are not saying that the suspect in the robbery-turned-carjacking incident is connected to the purse-snatching event but according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales in a tweet, there were similarities between the two incidents.
He said that both victims were out in the daytime, and they were not alone.
Gonzales said that he is now planning on how law enforcement can use crime reduction units, crime analysis, and community-oriented methods to reduce violence. He also added the importance of considering what is not working.
“We need to make sure that we correct some of those issues that need to be more effective. So there’s a number of things we need to tackle, and these criminals need to stop,” Gonzalez said.
“I know it sounds cliché, ‘Get a job,’ and things like that, but there’s resources out there. If you’re struggling with addiction, if you need a job, if you need resources, there’s plenty of resources out there.”
According to the sheriff’s office, the car linked to the purse-snatching incident was a 2017 or 2018 black Chevrolet Impala, with chrome rims and dark tinted windows.