Around 6 AM Monday morning, Houston police officers gathered on the corner of Weslayan and Bissonnet streets at a local shopping center to engage in a shootout with a gunman who had opened fire at a number of cars as they passed by him and managed to injure nine people.
"I didn't realize I was right there by the shooter. Gunshots, I literally hear the gunshots pass my face, 'cause I'm leaning out the window looking, trying to see," Antoine Wilson, an eyewitness, told CNN. "[You could] hear people screaming. I'm talking about steady gunshots, just steady shooting, back and forth … police and the shooter. Helicopters were everywhere."
Minutes after the officers arrived, the gunman was dead and paramedics were on the scene to tend to the wounded and transport them to a nearby hospital. The shooter's car was identified as being registered to Nathan DeSai, a Houston-based, 46-year-old lawyer who lived close to the scene of the shooting. Even so, neither acting Police Chief Martha Montalvo nor HPD Captain Dwayne Ready could definitively confirm the identity of the shooter. A thorough inspection of the car revealed the shooter was in possession of two guns and a number of pieces of Nazi paraphernalia.
"The suspect had two weapons on him at the time either on his person or in his car that he was standing nearby at the time of this incident," Ready said during a press conference on Monday afternoon. "One of them is a .45 semi-automatic handgun, the other one is .45 semi-automatic Thompson Carbine commonly known as a 'Tommy Gun.'"
According toHouston Mayor Sylvester, who's been in communication with the Houston police department, the shooter acted alone in his decision to open fire in public, but what's not clear is whether or not the authorities are looking into his shooting as a terrorist act considering the Nazi-themed items he was found with.
Currently, Sylvester said, the police are working with the assumption that the shooter was motivated by a recent bad turn of professional events. In an interview with ABC13, DeSai's former law partner Ken McDaniel explained that the pair had parted ways about sixth months ago for reasons that he would not specify.