Monday, July 6, 2009

Simply terrible

How terrible. My heart goes out to the families of the victims.

If it turns out, after the investigation, that Chris Allgood committed the killings prosecute him for capital murder.

May the victims rest in peace.

Police investigating triple homicide

A 30-year-old man wielding an assault rifle was arrested on a murder charge after three people, including his 2-year-old daughter, were found shot to death in his North Side apartment early Sunday.

Chris Allgood was charged with one count of murder and one count of discharging a firearm after authorities found the bodies of his 26-year-old girlfriend, Courtney Gass, the couple’s toddler Anika and a male in the apartment in the 8500 block of Wakefield Drive.

When being led away from the Police Department to be charged, Allgood mumbled that “the girl” did it, but he did not elaborate. If the investigation leads police to believe that Allgood shot all three people, he could face a capital murder charge, which is punishable by the death penalty.

He is currently in Bexar County Jail in lieu of $205,000 bond.

Though authorities have not identified the victims, Gass’ family in Texas City confirmed their names. The male is believed to be an acquaintance of the couple and was visiting from Texas City, said San Antonio Police Department spokesman Joe Rios.

“We are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the investigation,” said Gass’ father, Dale Gass.

Allgood was detained by a security guard at the Coral Ridge Apartments who heard shots fired in the area around 3 a.m., said police spokesman Sgt. Chris Benavides. After searching the property, the guard found Allgood in a parking lot holding the rifle in the air, Benavides said.

The guard called police, who arrested Allgood and took him downtown to appear before a magistrate to be charged with discharging his weapon in a public place, Benavides said. But while he was being questioned, police received another call from the complex.

Billy Watson, who lives with his mother above Allgood’s apartment, said he returned home around 4 a.m. to find his mother frantic. She had heard noises from the apartment below and went outside when Allgood was outside with the rifle, Watson said.

“She told me to go check on my goddaughter, Anika,” Watson said. “So I went downstairs and kicked in the door.”

He said that inside the apartment he found Gass lying in a fetal position in a pool of blood in the front living room. He then told his mother to call police.

Benavides said Anika and the male were in a back bedroom, each fatally shot in separate beds.

The incident is likely an instance of domestic violence, Benavides said, and officers believe alcohol may have played a role in the shootings.

Watson said he was with the couple Saturday night and saw Allgood drinking straight vodka, which he said has led to violent outbursts.

“They were drinking Grey Goose,” Watson said, “and he was already kind of drunk when I left. When they would get drunk, they were two totally different people.”

He left the couple’s apartment around 8:30 p.m. to do promotional work at a club. Watson said Allgood moved from Texas City to San Antonio about 10 months ago and that three months later Gass and Anika moved in with him. Watson quickly became friends with Allgood when they discovered their shared musical interests, and he got along well with Gass, too.

Anika’s parents allowed her to spend time with Watson — who calls himself her godfather but is referred to as “Uncle Billy” on Gass’ MySpace page — and he fondly remembers the toddler. He said he would take her to nearby North Star Mall, where he bought her shoes and ice cream.

“I loved her, and I showed her lots of attention,” he said. “She was like my little kid.”

Watson said Allgood had been unemployed for some time but is a musician. Gass was interested in photography, and the man visiting the couple was bringing her some equipment, Watson said.

The triple homicide comes just days after a shooting at a Dollar General on the Northeast Side that left a man and woman dead. That shooting was allegedly caused by domestic strife as well.

“In all of these recent murders, everybody knows each other,” Benavides said. “It’s tragic, but we’re able to find our suspects quickly.”

Benavides said he doesn’t know why it appears domestic violence cases have been on the rise but that it’s something he wants to investigate.

Courtney Gass’ mother, Judy Bradley, said she was in shock and grieving for Allgood’s family, with whom she was close.

“We looked forward to being grandmothers together,” Bradley said of Allgood’s mother. “I am sick for her, too.”

Bradley said her daughter and Allgood had a troubled relationship and showed court records that included at least one domestic violence charge in Galveston County, but there are no records of a conviction that could be confirmed Sunday. Bradley said she had tried to convince her daughter to return home to Texas City after moving to San Antonio to be with Allgood in October.

The latest victims bring the total of homicides in San Antonio this year to 52, which is two fewer than at this time last year, according to San Antonio Express-News and police records.

Even with the triple homicide, this year’s Independence Day was less violent than that of last year, when four people were killed in less than 24 hours. One of those crimes was family-related: A man was shot by his brother during a fight, according to records.