HOUSTON (AP) — A gunman who killed one person and wounded several others during a weekend attack that began at a Houston auto detail shop was an Army veteran from California who was haunted by his deployment in Afghanistan, his relatives said.
Family members identified Dionisio Garza III, 25, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, as the man who opened fire Sunday morning, killing 56-year-old Eugene Linscomb, a customer who had arrived moments earlier at the shop.
Garza, who was on foot, proceeded to spray the west Houston neighborhood with dozens of shots from what police said was an AR-15 style military rifle. A police SWAT officer killed Garza about an hour after the shooting began.
Garza spent four years in the Army, receiving his discharge in 2014, according to Pentagon records released Tuesday. During that time, he served two tours in Afghanistan, the first from December 2009 to November 2010 and the second from December 2012 to August 2013. Assigned to infantry, he reached the rank of sergeant in December 2011.
"I think he was haunted by everything that he saw there and he experienced there," his stepmother, Cathy Garza, told ABC News. "I think it changes you. I don't know how you can go through what he went through and see what he saw and not have it change you or have it affect you."
Six people were wounded, including two police officers and some people who were driving through the area. Patrol cars were riddled with bullets and a police helicopter was hit by at least five shots.
Police haven't publicly identified Garza as the gunman, leaving that to the medical examiner's office, which hadn't done so as of midday Tuesday and hadn't responded to phone or email messages seeking that information. Police said they would release additional details at a news conference later Tuesday.
Garza's family told Houston television station KPRC that something snapped in him following the two tours in Afghanistan and that his condition worsened in the weeks before he traveled to Houston to visit an Army friend.
"Just in the last two weeks it progressively got worse," said his father, Dionisio Garza. "It was not the same boy that we raised. Not the loving uncle, the loving brother.
"Something snapped. It wasn't him anymore. I'm not making excuses. No excuses. I know he did this, but it wasn't him anymore. My son was broken."