Suspect caught in Pearland Carjacking attempt led to gunshots, school closing

PEARLAND — A carjacking suspect accused of firing at the car owner and at Pearland police early Monday remains in custody this morning as authorities prepare to file charges.

The man, whose name has not been released, could be charged with aggravated assault on a public servant or attempted capital murder.

Detectives are still questioning him about other criminal cases with which they believe he may be connected, officials said today.

"They're just trying to follow up the leads," said Lt. Onesimo Lopez, a Pearland police spokesman.

After a daylong manhunt that included closing a nearby school and locking down two others, the suspect was found shortly before 10 p.m. Monday by a bloodhound, hiding in a shed in the 5400 block of Spring Branch in the Springfield subdivision, Lopez said.

Police said they found a shotgun inside a rifle case that had been left in the backyard of another home in that subdivision where the man had been seen earlier.

The search began early Monday after the man tried to steal the 2009 Dodge Challenger of a resident in the 3500 block of Lindhaven in the Audubon Place subdivision, police said.

The car's owner struggled with the man, who fired a shot as he ran away, officers said. Police chased the man on foot, but he fired at them and evaded capture.

No one was hit by either shot.

At one point, officials called off the search after tracking dogs lost the gunman's scent Monday afternoon. But police set up a search perimeter again and secured the Springfield subdivision after a patrol officer saw the man about 5:15 p.m., Lopez said.

Schools were scheduled to follow their normal routine today, said Glenn Garrison, president of the Pearland school district’s board.

Police cordoned off the area and alerted Pearland school officials. The district sent an advisory to parents of Magnolia Elementary School, which is adjacent to Audubon Place, to keep the students at home or take them to the Pearland Junior High West campus.

Gates were broken

Audubon Place is a small, upper-scale gated neighborhood. On Monday morning, the gates were broken and left open, said a repairman who worked to fix them Monday afternoon.

Police scoured the surrounding subdivisions, setting up a perimeter around the southeast Pearland neighborhoods. Officers went house to house to talk to residents, check backyards and look in sheds and other potential hiding places.

Pearland K-9 dogs and bloodhounds from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice tracked the gunman south from the original scene. About noon the dogs were no longer able to follow the scent, Lopez said.

Pearland police and Brazoria County sheriff’s deputies were joined by deputies from Fort Bend County, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and by police officers from nearby Friendswood in searching the area around Magnolia Elementary.

The junior high campus and Dawson High School were under a shelter-in-place order, which meant no one could enter or leave until authorities determined the danger is over. After-school activities were canceled at both Dawson and Pearland high schools.

Philip Deans, who lives just west of the shooting scene, said he heard one of the shots. He said such a thing is rare for Pearland, "but with all the growth, it may be something we’re going to have to live with."

Chronicle reporter Anita Hassan also contributed to this report.

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