TERRELL (CBSDFW.COM) – A man accused of killing five people – including burning one to death – was arrested early Tuesday after an hours-long search in Terrell, police said.
Charles Brownlow, 36 — who was identified by police as a suspect Monday night — has been taken into custody.
The shooting spree began on Monday night around 5 p.m. on Tyler Street, where a female victim was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head.
Less than a half hour later, a Terrell firefighter observed a house on fire on the 300 block of Stalling Street, just a few blocks away from the initial shooting. After the fire was extinguished, a female body was discovered inside the home. Police say the fire was clearly arson and established a connection between the two crimes.
At this point in the investigation, the Texas Rangers and Kaufman County Sheriff’s Officer were called in to assist.
Investigators determined that a white 2002 Ford Focus and an adult resident — identified as Brownlow — were missing from the burning home.
Police received a call of a shooting at a third location in the 800 block of Frances Street around 10 p.m. No one was injured in the incident, though witnesses described someone matching Brownlow’s description fleeing the scene in the stolen vehicle.
While still gathering details on Frances Street, police received calls of a shooting in the 800 block of Eulalia Drive. Police found the bodies of a man and woman at the home; both had been shot. Witnesses again provided a suspect description matching that of Brownlow.
Miraculously, a 3-year-old child was found unharmed and in bed at that location. The child is in good condition and is now with relatives.
An off-duty officer observed the stolen vehicle and a man matching Brownlow’s description at Ali’s Market at 10:37 p.m. The suspect fled on foot, jumped in the stolen vehicle, and fled through a residential area. Brownlow was forced to leave his vehicle after wrecking out down a dead-end road. He fled on foot before disappearing into a heavily brushed area.
Investigators revealed shortly after that a store employee was found shot dead at Ali’s Market.
At 1:30 a.m., a Texas DPS helicopter and K9 ground units were able to locate Brownlow hinding in a creek near Gardner Street and Canton Street. He was quickly taken into custody without incident.
“We’re all in a state of shock. You have a tendency to think, ‘how can that happen here?'” said Terrell Police chief Jody Lay. “This is a country community, a rural community. People are really close and this is going to have a big impact on us. We’ve had a tough year here in Kaufman County, and this makes it a little bit tougher, but we’re going to get through it.”
None of those killed has been officially identified at this point.
Public records show that Brownlow has an extensive criminal history. His past charges include burglary, assault-family violence, possession of marijuana, and the unlawful possession of a firearm.
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