HOUSTON - Officials need your help identifying three suspects on the loose, accused of murdering a man after stealing his friend's dogs.
Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff's Office say three suspects allegedly stole multiple dogs from a breeder or kennel, then lured the owners to Murphy's gas station on the 15400 block of Wallisville Rd in Northeast Houston.
Authorities said the suspects offered to give back the dogs, at a price.
Deputies say the dog owner and his friend then met up for the exchange just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, but instead, a fight ensued, and several bullets were fired.
"There was a little bit of shoving and then the guns came out. The victim was shot right here at the gas station behind me," said Lt. Robert Minchew with the HCSO Homicide Unit.
Authorities identify the victim as a friend of the dog owner. He was shot in the leg and later died at the hospital.
"It's heartless you know we know people love their animals, the same as they love their children," said Rania Mankarious, CEO of Houston Crime Stoppers. "And you will stop at nothing to go and protect your animal or protect your child."
Mankarious says this murder is another example of why harsher punishments are needed.
"For over two years now we've been sounding the alarm that we are reshaping our county, so that crime pays," Mankarious said. "We're emboldening criminals, and we're encouraging them really through these policies to go out there and commit crime. And I think as they're doing that, they too are getting creative."
"We also need the public to get engaged and ask questions as to why crime is increasing?" Mankarious continued. "Why has it become so brazen? Why has it become so reckless and what are we going to do as a community in response, because this will not self-correct."
HCSO Sheriff Ed Gonzalez described the suspects as three light-complexioned Black men in their 20s. The men were seen driving a black Chrysler 300 sedan and as of this writing, remain on the loose.
If you know anything about the suspects or this case, call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
The Houston SPCA is offering these safety tips to help keep your pet safe.
- If you think your pet has been stolen, file a police report.
- Never leave your pet alone in the car. Ever.
- Make sure your pets have an up-to-date microchip as their collar and tags can be easily removed.
- Have an updated photo of your pet on hand
- Connect with neighbors as well as online community boards to share images and photos, if your pet is missing.
- Never leave your pet alone in the front yard, even if it is fenced.
- May want to put a lock on your back gate.
- Always walk your dog on a leash.
- Get to know other pet owners and their pets on your street.