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Five dead at four locations after shooting spree in Texas town

A shooting spree killed five people around the small Texas community of Terrell. Wikimedia.org
A shooting spree killed five people around the small Texas community of Terrell. Wikimedia.org

By Jana J. Pruet

TERRELL, Texas (Reuters) - A man suspected of shooting to death his mother, aunt and three others in four locations was charged with murder on Tuesday after a manhunt and high-speed car chase through the Texas town of Terrell, law enforcement authorities said.

Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr., 36, was captured in a wooded area about 1:30 a.m. local time, according to Terrell Police Department spokesman A.D. Sansom. Terrell, a town of 16,000, is about 30 miles east of Dallas.

Brownlow has been charged with one count of capital murder and one count of evading arrest in a vehicle, and more charges are expected, said Sansom.

Police said they had no motive for the shooting spree that left victims in three homes and a convenience store.

"We are still in the process of putting this massive investigation together and still taking care to make sure surviving family members are notified appropriately," Sansom said.

Brownlow had a history of criminal behavior and had been released from prison in the last few months, according to Raylanette Brown, who said she is the maternal grandmother of a 15-year-old daughter of Brownlow. She said her granddaughter and Brownlow's mother, with whom he lived, were afraid of him.

Brown said Brownlow had called family members on Monday, telling them he was going to kill.

Police said the events began to unfold around 5 p.m. Monday when they found the body of Brownlow's aunt after receiving a call about a gunshot victim. Belinda Walker, 55, had been shot in the head, police said.

A short time later, firefighters were alerted to a fire at a home that was quickly determined to be arson. Once the flames were doused, police found the body of 61-year-old Mary Brownlow, who police said was the mother of Charles Brownlow, who shared the residence with his mother. Charles Brownlow and a white Ford Focus were missing from the home, and police called in reinforcements to search for him.

About 10 p.m., police were called about a shooting at a third location involving a man fitting Brownlow's description, but no one was injured.

Less than 30 minutes later, police received a call of another shooting at a residence. Upon arriving at that scene they found the bodies of 33-year-old Jason Wooden and 30-year-old Kelleye Sluder. A three-year-old boy was found alive in his bed. The suspect in that shooting matched Brownlow's description and was driving a white Ford Focus, police said.

An off-duty officer at a nearby convenience store then reported that he saw a man fitting Brownlow's description inside the store and the Ford Focus parked outside.

The suspect fled the scene, leading police on a high-speed chase until he wrecked the car and ran into a wooded area.

Investigators found a fifth victim, Luis Gerardo Leal-Carillo, 22, dead inside the convenience store.

A state police helicopter using an infrared heat-detecting device helped find Brownlow in a creek bed, said Lonny Haschel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Terrell is in Kaufman County, where Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland, were killed earlier this year. A former local justice of the peace, Eric L. Williams, and his wife, Kim, have been charged in those killings.

(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City and; Karen Brooks in Austin; Editing by Greg McCune, David Gregorio and Ken Wills)

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