Documents detail bizarre behavior of woman who allegedly fired shots at TV news station

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 5:20 PM

HOUSTON – In a probable cause court hearing Friday, a judge raised the bond for the woman who allegedly fired shots into a Houston television news studio. Michelle Monique Burks stood before a Harris County judge as prosecutors laid out a timeline of Thursday’s events and detailed past bizarre behavior.

According to police, Burks fired several shots outside the KTRK studio in the 3300 block of Bissonett around 9 a.m.

Witnesses said Burks pulled up in front of the building and appeared to be recording the station with her cell phone. After that, she opened fire, sending bullets flying everywhere.

Four shots were fired into four cars, and another five struck an upstairs corner office in the building. There was a woman working inside her office when the bullets came whizzing by, but luckily, she was not hit. One bullet was in close proximity to where her head would have normally been positioned, prosecutors said. The other four shots could have also hurt or killed her.

Right across the street from the station is a children’s day school. Some parents were dropping off their kids when the gunfire erupted and ran inside for cover.

“It’s very alarming and unsettling,” said Alyson Plumber. “I’m comforted to know that they’re safe here. We were very fortunate that our director was on top of it.”

Burks fled the scene, but West University police were on her tail. They chased her Camaro west on Bissonet and then north on Edloe as Houston police joined in.

Burk pulled over a couple of times, then kept going at a slow rate of speed, then sped up to 45 miles per hour before coming to a stop behind traffic at Richmond and the West Loop, prosecutors said.

Officers took her out of the vehicle, and placed her face-down on the concrete.

Burks was taken back to the news studio, where she was positively identified by witnesses.

“Yep, that’s definitely her,” a witness said as police pulled her out of the back of the car.

Officers then began to collect evidence from the scene.

They found five spent 40-caliber shell casings in the parking lot, more spent shell casings on the sidewalk just in front of the news station and some directly in front of the parked cars that were damaged in the shooting.

Burk was hauled off to jail and charged with two felonies; deadly conduct/ discharging a firearm into a habitation, building or vehicle, and evading arrest or detention in a vehicle.

What exactly set Burks off causes some confusion.

She is no stranger to news stations, including KHOU, and allegedly claimed that the news organizations were telling her story without her permission. At times, she even sent pictures of her driver license and her bizarre behavior continued to escalate.

According to prosecutors, Burk sent correspondence via Facebook to KTRK personalities Sharron Melton, Melanie Lawson and David Tillman. Those messages or posts began in January and continued sporadically until just before the shooting Thursday morning. The last statement made by Burk was “As a reminder to you, I am self defense, this statement signed by Michelle Monique Burks.”

There were also pictures posted on Burk’s Facebook page that showed her actually inside the KTRK building at one time. Several pieces of printed emails and Facebook communications were tagged as evidence.

Investigators said Burks may be connected to another incident outside the Channel 13 studio that on February 20. Surveillance footage from that incident showed the same suspect vehicle with the same suspect at the building.

KHOU 11 News stopped by Burks’ northwest Harris County home Thursday. No one was home, but neighbors say they’ve always thought she was a bit unstable. She’s even had run-ins with neighbors for parking too close to her driveway.

Bond was initially set at $5,000 for each case, but the judge raised the bond for both. Bond was raised to $10,000 for evading and to $30,000 for the deadly conduct.

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