HOUSTON — The man accused of robbing a convenience store, then leading a Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy on a chase that led to a deadly crash has been arrested, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed.
The Houston Police Department said the suspect, Davonte Dwayne Williams, 27, was arrested and faces federal charges of interference with commerce by robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Sheriff Gonzalez tweeted aggravated robbery charges are also being filed and more charges are pending.
A customer said he tried to stop the suspect when he held up his friend who was running the cash register.
“He pulled the gun on me like that, and I was like, I backed up,” Jimmy Jay Andrade said. "I was trying to get him out the store, but at the same time I didn't want him to leave with anything, but then he got away.”
Sheriff Gonzalez said Williams was out on bond for two prior cases of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon when he allegedly robbed a gas station and led a deputy on a chase that ended in a multi-vehicle crash on Laura Koppe and Lockwood.
One woman died in the crash and several others were injured, including two children.
Williams remains in federal custody.
"Our condolences go out the family of the female that lost her life during the crash. And we pray for the recovery of our deputy, the two small children, and everyone impacted by the crash," Sheriff Gonzalez tweeted.
The crash remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department.
Radio traffic of the crash
Radio conversations captured by Broadcastify.com give some insight into to what happened.
A deputy could be heard explaining that he spotted the possible suspect near the Eastex Freeway and Tidwell at a CVS pharmacy.
“Tidwell and 59. It's black, grey Lincoln Town Car at the CVS, has a red mask on and all black. Backing out,” the deputy said at about 10:49 p.m. “Looks like it's going to be our vehicle.”
Another deputy tells the responder not to turn his lights and siren on as he approaches the suspect.
“Don't light ‘em up, so he don't run from you,” the other deputy said over the radio.
“I think he just hit that CVS,” the deputy pursuing the suspect said. “I already lit him up.”
The pursuing deputy explains that during the chase the suspect is speeding, but there is no traffic around at the moment.
“He's going at a high rate of speed...no traffic,” the deputy said.
The deputy is heard calling out the direction and location of the chase as it happened.
“Eastbound... coming up to Lockwood. Speeds at 90 miles per hour,” the deputy said.
That was the last response received from the pursuing deputy before the crash.
“Where you at 110?” another deputy asked the pursuing deputy on the scanner.
Another deputy then radioed in, “He's unconscious at Lockwood.”
That is when EMS was dispatched to the scene of the crash.
“We've got a major scene out here,” another male deputy said.
“We need EMS out here,” a female deputy said.
During the same time of the crash, radio conversations from Houston police dispatch can also be heard as their officers respond to the scene.
Family reunited with homeless man who rescued HCSO deputy
Johnny Walker is homeless and was there when the chase ended in a deadly crash on Laura Koppe and Lockwood.
Walker rushed to help those involved, including the deputy.
“And I asked him, I said, 'If you can hear me, Sir, shake your head, open your eyes and let me know if you can’t talk,' and he opened his eyes,” Walker said.
Walker's sister, Monica Collins saw the television news coverage of the crash and recognized her brother as one of the good Samaritans. For weeks, she and her family thought he may have been killed in a stabbing.
She went to the scene and found Walker.
"When we got to him, he was just really upset that he couldn’t help the lady,” Collins said.
Collins said they plan to put Walker up in a hotel for the next few days, and they hope to stay in touch.