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Suspect captured in Houston ‘rampage’ shootings that left 3 people dead, officials say

A registered sex offender wanted in three separate Houston-area slayings since Friday was caught early Tuesday morning following a brief police chase not far from where authorities say his alleged crime spree began.

Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, of Houston, was taken into custody while driving a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra that law enforcement officials said was stolen from one of the victims. 

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a media briefing Tuesday morning that an observant citizen called authorities shortly after 6 a.m. to report seeing the vehicle in Cypress, an unincorporated community northwest of Houston. 

“It’s possible that he was casing the area in search of his next victim,” Gonzalez said during the briefing, which was attended and recorded by the Houston Chronicle

A deputy in the area spotted the car and a 14-minute pursuit ensued. Rodriguez was taken into custody just before 7 a.m.

A pistol was recovered from the stolen car, the sheriff said. 

“We’re very relieved this morning,” Gonzalez said about Rodriguez’s capture. 

>> Related story: Shooting deaths at mattress stores in Houston are linked, police say

The sheriff said his agency had deputies positioned in the Cypress area before the suspect was spotted because the first crime attributed to Rodriguez, a July 9 home invasion and robbery, took place less than half a mile from where he was ultimately captured. 

Rodriguez’s parents also live in the area and he grew up there, the sheriff confirmed. 

The first homicide that Rodriguez is suspected of committing also took place in Cypress. Pamela Johnson, 62, was found shot to death in her home there Friday evening. 

Gonzalez said during a news conference over the weekend that Johnson’s family became worried when no one could get in touch with her. The last time family members spoke to Johnson was around noon on July 10, the day after the home invasion about two and a half miles away. 

>> Read more trending news

Detectives investigating Johnson’s slaying found that personal property was stolen, including Johnson’s maroon 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, the sheriff said. The PT Cruiser was found Saturday evening at Willowbrook Mall after a citizen reported seeing the vehicle aedbandoned in the parking lot.

Mall surveillance video footage showed a man -- later identified by investigators as Rodriguez -- park the vehicle around 11 a.m. that morning. The man was seen on video walking through the mall and exiting the building on the opposite side from where he abandoned the victim’s car. 

Around 7 p.m. that same night, the body of Mattress Firm manager Allie Barrow, 28, was found by a fellow employee, stuffed between two mattresses in the back of the store. The Mattress Firm store where Barrow was slain is in a strip mall across the street from Willowbrook Mall. 

Barrow had been shot in the head, investigators said. 

Gonzalez and Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, who held a joint news conference Monday afternoon to identify Rodriguez as a person of “strong interest” and ask for the public’s help in tracking him down, reported that a third homicide took place that morning at a Mattress One store in Houston, where a man was found shot to death. 

The Nissan Rodriguez was driving when captured was taken from the scene of the Mattress One homicide, officials said. KPRC in Houston identified the victim of that killing as Edward Magana, 57. 

A fourth person, a 22-year-old Metro Lift driver, was also shot in the abdomen and robbed Monday morning in Houston. Acevedo said that the bus driver was expected to survive. 

The motive for the crimes was not known, Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. Neither he nor Acevedo detailed how Rodriguez was tied to all the crimes. 

Rodriguez was released from prison in September, the Chronicle reported. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel told the newspaper that his release was mandated by law, due to the amount of time he’d already served.

Rodriguez, whose violent criminal history dates back to at least 1989, was on parole and was supposed to be on supervised release until 2023. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, but the Chronicle reported that he had tampered with it in the days before police and sheriff’s deputies began searching for him in connection with the homicides. 

It was unclear if he was still wearing the disabled device when he was arrested. 

Records accessed by the Chronicle showed that Rodriguez was sent to prison for attempted sex abuse, burglary and auto theft charges in 1989. Then 17, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

While in prison, he was charged in a theft case out of Montgomery County, for which he was sentenced to 10 years, with that time to run concurrently with his sentence on the previous charges. 

Rodriguez was also found with a weapon while serving time, the Chronicle reported. Another 10 years was added to his sentence. 

He served 28 years in prison before his release on parole last fall. Texas’ sex offender registry shows that Rodriguez was classified as high risk. 

Florida woman beat mother to death over absence from will, police say

“You destroyed my life, so I’m going to destroy you.”

With those words, a Florida woman on Thursday night beat to death her 85-year-old mother for leaving her out of her will, , police investigators said. 

Gabriela Perero, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated battery of a person 65 years old or older, according to Broward County jail records. She is being held without bail. 

Perero’s arrest report, which is available online, states that medics with the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue went to Luisa Perero’s home around 9:15 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report of an elderly woman suffering from chest pains. When they arrived at the elderly woman’s condo, they found Luisa Perero suffering from injuries consistent with a beating. 

They also found Gabriela Perero, who told the medics that she attacked her mother in a rage, the arrest report said. Fort Lauderdale police officers were called to the scene. 

“I guess I’m going to jail. I beat up my mom,” Gabriela Perero said, according to the arresting officer’s affidavit. 

The officer said that Perero continued to make incriminating statements.

“I pushed her down, grabbed her and tore the skin off her arm,” Perero said, according to the affidavit. “I did it all. I don’t want her to die.”

>> Read more trending news

Luisa Perero was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in critical condition, the affidavit said. The victim, whose visible injuries included cuts to the back of her head and skin torn off both arms, was briefly declared dead but emergency personnel were able to restore her heartbeat. 

Suffering from bleeding on the brain, she was placed on life support and died Friday of her injuries. 

Gabriela Perero told investigators she was angry because her siblings were receiving inheritances from their mother, but she was not, despite being the one caring for the elderly woman. According to the arrest affidavit, she told detectives she became enraged over the ongoing dispute and began ransacking her mother’s home, where she was also living temporarily. 

Perero said she broke picture frames and flung around paperwork, but was still angry and turned on her mother, the document said. She said she threw her mother to the floor, causing a bleeding head wound, and grabbed her by the throat. 

It was then that she told her mother she would destroy her, according to the affidavit. 

Perero told investigators that after the beating, she took her mother into the bathroom and washed the blood off her body, the affidavit said. She then put her to bed and called 911. 

Man impersonating police officer tries to pull over real cops in unmarked car

An Arizona man was charged last week with impersonating a police officer after he pulled over two state troopers who were patrolling in an unmarked car. 

Matthew Allen Disbro, 44, of Mesa, was booked Wednesday into the Maricopa County Jail. 

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said two troopers were patrolling State Route 51 in an unmarked yellow Ford Mustang when they saw a black Dodge Charger, equipped with police-style lighting, through their rear window. The troopers ran a registration check on the license plate and discovered the car belonged to a private citizen.

A few moments later, the driver of the Charger activated his flashing lights and tried to pull the Mustang over, officials said in a news release. When the troopers did not pull over, the driver pulled up alongside them and started yelling and waving, indicating that they needed to pull over. 

The troopers turned the tables, activating their own lights and pulling the driver, later identified as Disbro, over, the news release said

Disbro, who was taken into custody, works as a uniformed, armed security guard, investigators said. His Charger was not only equipped with lights, but also with a police siren and radio scanner.

>> Read more trending news

“Motorists need to feel confident that when they are pulled over by law enforcement they are dealing with a state-certified peace officer,” Department of Public Safety Maj. Deston Coleman said in a statement. “Criminal behavior like that exhibited by the suspect undermines public confidence and makes it difficult for troopers and other law enforcement officers to perform their job.”

Investigators released images and a brief video of the Charger in an effort to find any citizens who were pulled over by Disbro under the guise of a police officer. Anyone who had contact with him in that way is asked to call investigators at 602-644-5805.

Mom accused of having sex with son's 15-year-old friend, giving them weed and alcohol

A Tennessee woman has been charged with statutory rape after police say she had sex with a 15-year-old boy. 

>> Watch the news report here

According to the arrest affidavit, Melissa Lumpkin of Arlington had some of her son's friends over after a football game in 2016.

The victim told police that Lumpkin gave him and three other boys alcohol and marijuana, which she drank and smoked with them, according to police documents.

Court records said Lumpkin was sitting on the couch with the teen when the other boys went out to smoke. While they were alone, he started touching her and the two started kissing. 

>> Read more trending news 

Eventually, the boys returned and Lumpkin stopped kissing the teen, the affidavit said. Later that evening, the teen reportedly began kissing and touching Lumpkin again. The victim said Lumpkin stopped kissing him and went into her bedroom, according to the affidavit.

The arrest affidavit said the victim waited two hours for his friends to fall asleep. He then woke her up, and the two had consensual sex, according to the arrest affidavit.

The boy told some friends the next day what had happened. One of his friends told their father, who informed the victim's family. 

Lumpkin was arrested Thursday.

Read more here.

Missing Florida mom's body found in Georgia, family says

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that the body of missing Florida woman Jennifer Perry was found, and the man found driving her car will face new charges.

>> Watch the news report here

Search crews found a woman's body while searching for Perry in Charlton County on Friday night.

The GBI confirmed Monday that the body belongs to Perry, a 38-year-old Bryceville mother.

Perry was reported missing on Wednesday. A day later, Delbert Lamar Goodman was seen driving her truck in Baker County, Florida.

Deputies arrested Goodman on drug charges. 

>> Read more trending news 

GBI investigators said a warrant has been issued for Goodman for concealing the death of another person.

Goodman is already in jail in Baker County.

Perry's death is being investigated as a homicide, GBI investigators said.

Anyone with information about her death is asked to contact GBI at 912-729-6198.

Day care provider gets probation for trying to hang toddler, running over 2 men

A Minnesota home day care worker has been sentenced to 10 years of probation for trying to hang a toddler and running over two men.

>> PREVIOUSLY: Police: Day care worker arrested, accused of trying to hang child

According to KARE, Nataliia Karia of Minneapolis was arrested in November 2016 after authorities said she hanged a toddler in her care from a homemade noose in her basement. Karia fled after Joseph Sabir, the father of another child at the day care, rescued the toddler, who survived the incident, the station reported. She drove off in her minivan, running over and injuring two men before she tried to kill herself by jumping from a bridge, authorities said.

>> Man suspected of nearly beating girlfriend's daughter to death

Although Karia, who was charged with attempted murder and criminal vehicular operation, pleaded guilty, her attorneys said years of abuse by her husband sparked her actions and caused her to become mentally ill.

>> Read more trending news 

In addition to the probation time, Judge Jay Quam on Monday sentenced Karia to "court-ordered mental health treatment and electronic home monitoring for at least two months," the Star Tribune reported. Karia also can't visit her own children without supervision, according to the newspaper.

Read more here or here.

Man suspected of nearly beating girlfriend's daughter to death

Police in Memphis, Tennessee, arrested a man after investigators said his girlfriend's child suffered life-threatening injuries while under his care. 

>> Watch the news report here

According to the arrest affidavit, the suspect, Latarius Curry, was alone with the victim and two other children when he called his girlfriend. 

He reportedly told the victim's mother that her daughter was having a seizure. The woman rushed home from work and noticed her daughter's body was "very stiff," and her eyes were rolling into the back of her head, the affidavit said.

The child was rushed to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in extremely critical condition. 

>> Read more trending news 

Court records detail the severe injuries the child suffered, which included liver laceration, contusions and bruises. It also said the child had multiple seizures. 

The doctor said the injuries are consistent with "non-accidental trauma, specifically blunt force trauma to the head."

Police said the injuries are currently "unexplained."

Curry has been charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect. 

Texas woman accused of biting off, swallowing part of victim's nose

A Texas woman was arrested and charged with assault after police say she bit off and swallowed part of another woman's nose.

According to KTRK, the victim, identified only as "Tatiana," said the incident happened last week after she, her neighbor and the neighbor's guest came back to Tatiana's home after a night out. When the neighbor's guest, 41-year-old Jessica Collins of Conroe, "demanded more alcohol and cigarettes," Tatiana said she asked her to leave, KTRK reported

>> Read more trending news 

That's when Collins attacked her, Tatiana said.

"I didn't have time to react, to push her away," said Tatiana, who claimed that Collins then bit off a portion of her nose. 

Tatiana told KTRK that she didn't know the extent of her injury until the ambulance ride to the hospital. She said she called her husband, screaming, "I don't have a nose! I'm 28 years old and I don't have a nose anymore!"

Tatiana said she will need plastic surgery for her injury. 

Collins was released from jail Monday after posting bond.

Read more here.

Department of Justice indicts 7 people for stealing $1.5M in online dating scam

Seven Nigerian nationals have been indicted for conducting an online dating scam that cost lovelorn victims more than $1.5 million, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said in a Friday news release.

>> Read more trending news 

The seven defendants created fake profiles on dating sites, sometimes using images of government officials or models, the Justice Department said. The defendants would carry on relationships for months over online messaging, texts and phone calls, tricking “lonely individuals into giving them money,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in the release

“Some victims lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from their retirement savings or inheritances,” Pak said. 

After gaining love and trust over multiple months, the defendants would create “elaborate false stories” in order to convince victims to send them money via wire or online transfers, according to the release. Between the seven, they are charged with 60 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft and use of false passports.

The defendants are:

  • Olu Victor Alonge, a.k.a Serge Damessi, a.k.a. Didier Baraze, a.k.a. Mobo Marcus Adeh, a.k.a. Ayo Baraze, a.k.a. Nicolas Soglo, 34, of Newnan
  • Ugochukwu Lazarus Onebunne, a.k.a. Policap Tizhe, a.k.a. Saheed Ademoha, 41, of Douglasville, Georgia.
  • Olajide Olalekan Adara, a.k.a. Kelvin Mensah, 33, of Loganville, Georgia.
  • Joshua Adedeji Ipoade, 28, of Atlanta.
  • Oladunni Temitope Oladipupo, 24, of Lynn, Massachusetts.

Two other defendants have not been apprehended, and their identities have not been made public. 

Man charged with peeking at girl, 12, at New Hampshire outlet mall dressing room

A Massachusetts man was arrested and charged for  looking at a 12-year-old girl over the wall of a dressing room at a store in a New Hampshire outlet mall, WMUR reported.

>> Read more trending news

Police in Tilton were called to the Tanger Outlet Mall after Eric Muldowney, 30, of Somerville, Massachusetts, was accused of climbing up a wall to look at the girl, who was changing, WMUR reported.

The girl’s mother confronted Muldowney and attempted to prevent him from leaving, but he pushed the woman away and fled in a red Toyota that had a Rhode Island license plate, police said.

A police officer near I-93 saw a vehicle matching that description and pulled it over. He arrested Muldowney, who was charged with violation of privacy and simple assault, WMUR reported.

Muldowney was released on a $6,000 personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 20, the television station reported.

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