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Same handgun used in two slayings

Dale Lezo, Houston Chronicle
Published 2:16 pm, Tuesday, March 5, 2013
  • Bryan Knight, left, and Norma Martinez speak about the death of their loved ones in separate hoimcide cases during a news conference Tuesday at the Houston Police Department. (Photo: Dale Lezon/HC) Photo: Dale Lezon
    Bryan Knight, left, and Norma Martinez speak about the death of their loved ones in separate hoimcide cases during a news conference Tuesday at the Houston Police Department. (Photo: Dale Lezon/HC) Photo: Dale Lezon

 

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A handgun has been linked to the slayings of two men in separate cases late last year in southeast Houston, officials said.

John S. Martinez, 45, was gunned down about 10 p.m. Oct. 13 as he pulled into his driveway in the 7000 block of Ashburn, according to the Houston Police Department.

About a month later and a few miles away, 50-year-old Criss Gerald Knight, a plumber, was discovered fatally shot inside the cab of his pickup about 8:30 Nov. 8 in the 8900 block of Duane near Clover.

Police said ballistics evidence at the scene of each shooting ties the same handgun to both killings. However, investigators said they are uncertain if both victims were killed by the same person.

"We don't know if the same suspects were involved," said M.J. Miller, of the HPD Homicide Division, during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Miller said Martinez's killer may have sold the gun after the shooting. Or he could have thrown it away and it was found by someone else who then used it later in Knight's slaying, though that might be a long-shot, Miller acknowledged.

In the first slaying, Miller said three men confronted Martinez just after he parked his pickup in his driveway after returning home from visiting his brother. The men robbed and then shot Martinez once, Miller said. Then they left in a vehicle. He said it appeared Martinez had complied with the suspects' demands during the robbery.

"They senselessly shot and killed him," Miller added.

The handgun that killed Martinez also was used in the Knight's homicide, said Sgt. Peg Jewell, of the HPD Homicide Division.

In that slaying, Jewell said, Knight was driving his white Ford F-250 pickup northbound on Duane when a black extended-cab pickup pulled in front him at an angle and stopped, blocking him in. Witnesses told investigators a passenger in Knight's truck then got out, walked in front of Knight's pickup and fired more than once through the windshield, hitting Knight.

Knight's truck continued moving forward, crashed through a fence, hit two parked vehicles and rolled into the front yard of a nearby house where it stopped.

Knight died at the scene. He had been shot in the head.

Jewell said witnesses told investigators the gunman climbed into the black truck and the driver sped away.

Investigators have no description of the suspects in the case.

The killings have ravaged the families of both victims. The two families had never met until they were brought together by their common grief.

Anyone with information about the cases is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713 222-TIPS