HOUSTON -- A homeless man ran four blocks to flag down police early Friday after he spotted a suspect accused of killing another homeless man overnight.
Police responded to the 1200 block of Lovett, near Westheimer and Montrose, around 3 a.m. after someone spotted the victim’s body. The victim, 22-year-old Corey Chapman, was lying on the bloody mat he used as a bed.
Karem Delesline told officers the suspect woke up a group of about 15 homeless people with a bizarre question.
"And he asked us, 'Would we like to see a dead body,'" Delesline said.
They tried to get his name but he rode away on a black bicycle.
Delesline said he saw blood on the guy's hands so the group called police.
Brandon Campbell, another member of the group, said he and others decided to launch their own search.
"We've been up all night, looking for this dude all night," Campbell said. "And finally this morning, I saw his bike."
Campbell ran back to the murder scene to tell homicide detectives what he'd seen.
"That’s how fast I am. They call my speed 'lightning,'" Campbell said.
Officers quickly responded and arrested 26-year-old Ardie Scott Powell. Police say Powell confessed and a murder charge is pending.
Campbell didn't know the victim but that didn't matter to him.
"We are a family. No matter what no one says, we are a family," he explained.
He has advice for other members of the homeless community.
"It's not safe to be out here," Campbell warned. "Get to a shelter or something."
The victim's body was found on the porch of the Charity Guild of Catholic Women’s Consignment shop, where he had been sleeping.
“We are certainly aware there are homeless people in the area and they do sleep at the entrances to our shop. It’s a warm place for them in the winter time we realize that,” said President of the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, Jene Phillips.
Every day for years, the consignment shop security officer wakes and asks the gathering of homeless people to leave.
“They are cooperative with that. He’s never had any confrontations with any of them and so we never felt like we were in any danger because they aren’t here when the women come in,” said Phillips.
The number of homeless people in Houston has dropped dramatically in recent years. There were 8,538 in 2011 and only 3,626 in 2016, according to the Coalition for the Homeless