3 people in 4 days: Man described by sheriff as Houston serial killer suspect arrested after chase

HOUSTON, Texas — Sheriff’s deputies in Houston acting on a tip from a caller Tuesday arrested a suspected serial killer linked to the deaths of three people.

The caller spotted a Nissan Sentra that authorities had earlier said was being driven by Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, a felon who spent decades in prison before being released last year.

The Harris County sheriff’s office was notified and a deputy attempted to stop the Sentra but it sped away, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. The car came to a stop after a chase lasting about 15 minutes and Rodriguez was taken into custody, he said. A handgun was found in the car, which police say was stolen from one of his victims.

“It’s possible that he was looking to score his next victim so we’re very relieved, very thankful to the citizens of Harris County for calling in, for being diligent and reporting this to us so that we could take action,” Gonzalez said during a news conference.

During a joint conference Monday with Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Gonzalez described Rodriguez as a possible serial killer .

He’s suspected in the shooting death of 62-year-old Pamela Johnson in her Cypress-area home Friday; the killing of 28-year-old Allie Barrow inside a mattress store in Houston on Saturday; and the fatal shooting of a man inside another mattress store in Houston on Monday. Authorities have not identified the third victim.

Rodriguez also is a suspect in the robbery, shooting and wounding of a metro bus driver on Monday and a home invasion robbery on July 9, investigators said.

Gonzalez said there were “strong indications in each crime” that Rodriguez was involved but declined to elaborate. Authorities have not released further details of the crimes, such as the motive behind each act and whether the victims were randomly chosen.

The suspect’s criminal history dates back to at least 1989 when he was charged with a variety of offenses that include attempted aggravated sexual abuse, burglary and auto theft. He spent decades in state prison and while there was convicted of possession of a deadly weapon. He was released on parole in September.

Rodriguez was arrested Tuesday on a parole violation and Gonzalez says additional charges are pending.