HOUSTON – Houston Police say a man was killed Sunday morning after checking into America’s Best Value Inn in north Houston.
“It’s like the wild, wild west out here,” said a witness who heard the shooting.
According the Houston Police Department, the shooting happened just before 5 a.m. in the 4500 block of Airline Drive.
“We were asleep, heard 10 shots, so we were bound to wake up,” said another motel guest.
Police said it appears four men followed a man, identified as 56-year-old Tommy Lee Thurman, of Houston, and his female passenger into the motel’s parking lot. It is believed Thurman’s vehicle was followed by a dark colored, four-door sedan that continued on and possibly parked further down the street.
The armed suspects then entered the parking lot and started to approach the victim and his female companion, police said.
“Upon seeing the males approach, she ran,” said Officer Mark Coleman, with HPD Homicide. “She saw he had a gun, so she ran.”
But the man she was with didn’t run. The suspects started shooting at him, but the victim in this case had a weapon, too. He returned fire.
“We heard the gunshots,” said a motel guest. “The woman started screaming.”
When it was all over, the victim, a man in his 50’s was dead. Struck by bullets multiple times say police. According to investigators, the suspects then approached the man’s body on the ground, grabbed his gun and possibly other property, before running off.
“We were scared,” said a motel guest. “But it’s the type of area you’re in. It’s a bad area.”
Sunday morning, overnight guests checked out shaken. One man even found a bullet hole in his van this morning. He’s not surprised he says, especially after what he recalls hearing outside his window.
“Looked to me like a professional killing,” he said. “They unloaded the whole clip.”
Police recovered a gun magazine and shell casings. But surveillance tape could offer more clues and help police find out who did this and why.
The suspects are believed to have fled the scene on foot, but then possibly hopped in a dark-colored sedan. There is no indication that they were wounded.
Police questioned the woman travelling with the victim and the owner of the motel who was inside the office at the time of the shooting.
Police plan to release surveillance tape when they have an opportunity to review it.