Law enforcement officials are searching for five men they believe may be connected to a shooting that killed a prominent Houston doctor and injured another at a Bellville ranch Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Austin County Sheriff's Office dispatchers received a 911 call around 12:09 p.m. from a woman reporting a possible burglary at a ranch located in the 6400 block of South Sycamore Crossing, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Paul Faircloth.
An officer on his way to the scene spotted three vehicles near the intersection of Mill Creek and Kuykendahl that appeared to be leaving the area of the reported burglary, Faircloth said.
One of the men opened fire at the officer, but did not hit him or his car, Faircloth said.
Officers found Jorge Mario Gonzalez dead on what property records indicate is a 30-acre ranch. An unidentified man was found shot and injured, Faircloth said. That man, not believed to be a family member, was airlifted to a trauma center in an unknown condition.
The homeowner's wife and their infant were found uninjured in the home, Faircloth said.
The motive for the shooting is still unknown.
“It is unclear at this time whether the intent of the suspects was a burglary of the residence or a home invasion,“ Faircloth said.
Gonzalez, who attended medical school in Guatemala, was chief of the critical care section at The Methodist Hospital. He received dual academic appointments at both M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine.
“Dr. J. Mario Gonzalez was a great friend and respected colleague to all of us at Methodist. We are greatly saddened by his tragic death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones as they grieve this terrible loss,” according to a statement released by hospital officials.
They called him a “pulmonary medicine leader at Methodist and across the Medical Center for decades.”
Authorities noted that the shooting was unusual in the quiet, bedroom community of Bellville, where most residents move to get away from big-city crime.
“This is not something that happens here,“ Faircloth said.
The description of the vehicles spotted near the property are:
The first vehicle was a white late 1990s Ford F-150 pickup truck with an extended cab, long wheel base, with no front license plate and black door handles. It was occupied by two men.
The second vehicle is described as a red two-door Acura that was low to the ground with tinted windows. It was occupied by one man wearing a black shirt.
The third vehicle is described as a silver and black late 1990s Ford F-150 pickup truck with an extended cab, chrome bed rails and a Lincoln Navigator grill. It was occupied by two men.
A vehicle matching the description of a silver Ford F-150 was recovered and investigators are currently interviewing the owner, Faircloth said.
Along with the Austin County Sheriff's Office, several other agencies are assisting with the case, including the Bellville Police Department, Texas Rangers, local Department of Public Safety authorities, as well as the DPS Aircraft Unit, the Sealy Police Department, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and the Bellville Volunteer Fire Department.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the Austin County Sheriff's Office at 979-865-3111.