Even without a general membership meeting due to the Coronavirus, the Houston Police Officers Union bestowed the honor of Investigators of the Month to three Homicide detectives.
The three are Detectives Katie Clark, John D. Pickett and Logan Lange. Homicide Sgt. William G. Dunn nominated the three and outlined the details of their highly successful investigation. The three serve with Murder Squad 7 in Homicide.
Last Aug. 18 two men were shot and killed while inside their vehicle in the middle of the East Freeway during rush hour.
“While at the scene,” Sgt. Dunn reported, “we gathered witnesses and processed the scene. The two victims were involved in an apparent drug deal, as there were two large bags of marijuana in the vehicle with them.”
Detectives Lange and Pickett were assigned to thoroughly process the scene. Detective Clark and Sgt. Dunn interviewed several witnesses at the Homicide Office and were able to learn a consistent suspect description and vehicle description.
For the next several days, Detectives Clark, Lange and Pickett canvassed a large geographical area to locate video of the victims driving their vehicle and the suspect vehicle chasing them. Detective Clark also got Crime Stopper tips that stated the event was a drug deal gone bad and it was orchestrated by a drug dealer who also works as a barber.
Detective Clark investigated the victims’ phones and was able to learn the last phone number they were communicating with just minutes before their murder. Clark researched the number and found a suspect who also worked as a barber.
The detectives then canvassed the entire strip center and learned the victims visited the newly developed suspect at the barber shop 25 minutes before they were murdered.
Video showed the suspect get in the backseat of the victims’ vehicle. A short time later a vehicle matching the witnesses’ description pulled up next to the victims’ vehicle. A front passenger got out with a large white bag and also entered the rear seat of the victims’ vehicle. The second male matched the witnesses’ description of the shooter.
Both suspects were then seen abruptly getting out of the victims’ vehicle and the victims fled the parking lot. The second suspect no longer had the large bag. The first suspect remained, and the second suspect got back into the front passenger seat of the suspect vehicle and chased the victims.
The detectives researched the suspect’s vehicle and discovered the individual who owned the vehicle matched the description of the second suspect described by witnesses. The detectives spent the next several months getting search warrants for everyone’s phones, and the vehicle belonging to one of the suspects.
The detectives set up stings to take two of the suspects into custody at different periods during the investigation. They interviewed the two suspects, but both suspects requested a lawyer.
Detectives developed a third suspect from visual surveillance and phone records and helped set up a sting to have him arrested for an unrelated Aggravated Assault charge so that he could be brought to Homicide and interviewed.
Detective Clark interviewed the suspect that was suspected of being the shooter. After several hours he confessed and identified the two other suspects involvement. His information was matched by all the previous research. The detectives then called and received Capital Murder charges on all three suspects.
“This investigation was a long and complex investigation involving forensic information, numerous search warrants and excellent interviewing skills,” Sgt. Dunn said. “The hard and tenacious work ethic demonstrated by the detectives resulted in getting justice for the victims’ families.”