Tag: Houston

Arrest made in Houston sergeant hotel parking lot killing

Houston police arrested a man in connection with the fatal shooting of a Houston police sergeant who left behind four children, officials said Tuesday.

Police have identified the suspect as 24-year-old Robert Soliz. He was detained without incident on Interstate 10 in West Houston, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo posted on Twitter.

No other information on the arrest was immediately released, but Acevedo promised more details later in the day.

Court records cited by Eyewitness News say Soliz was arrested earlier this year for unlawfully carrying a weapon and was out on bond. They also say that Soliz was accused in 2017 of threatening his girlfriend with murder. 


Sgt. Sean Rios, 47, was shot and killed while driving to work on Interstate 45 in north Houston. The 25-year veteran of the Houston force staggered into the office of a small motel bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. He collapsed and died about 1:30 p.m. Monday, and a manhunt ensued.

In a tweet shortly after Rios’ murder, Houston Police Officer’s Union President Joe Gamaldi asked that the sergeant and his surviving family members be kept in prayers.

“We will not stop until we find the monster/monsters responsible,” Gamaldi tweeted.

No motive was immediately disclosed, but Acevedo tweeted: “We can all breathe a sigh of relief.”


Rios was the fourth Houston police officer killed in the line of duty in the past 12 months, Acevedo said.

Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year veteran of the department, was shot and killed on Oct. 20 while responding to a domestic violence call. He had been preparing to retire this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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‘Help me’: Hotel manager witnessed slain Houston police sergeant’s final moments

It was a routine Monday at Taj Inn & Suites until manager Sid Gandhi heard two loud bangs. He figured the noise came from the nearby mechanic shop, but after a third and fourth bang, he knew something was wrong.

A bell rang in the lobby. Ghandi got up from the sofa in the back and went to the front office where he saw a man — later identified as Houston police Sgt. Sean Rios — covered in blood.

“’Help me, help me. Call 911,’” Rios said, according to Ghandi.

The manager took a deep breath and dialed. The 47-year-old police sergeant fell to the ground, unconscious, Ghandi said. His chest was soaked in blood. Paramedics pronounced Rios dead at the scene.

Rios, a 25-year veteran of the department, was on his way to a 2 p.m. shift at George Bush Intercontinental Airport when he engaged a suspect in a gun battle near the Interstate 45 service road and Stuebner Airline, according to Chief Art Acevedo. Rios was wearing regular clothes and driving his personal car.

Surveillance video from Taj Inn & Suites shows Rios running from the street into the hotel lobby, said Ghandi, who viewed the video with police before submitting it for evidence. The video does not show the shoot-out, Ghandi said.

The circumstances leading up to the shoot-out remained unclear Tuesday, police said.

The suspected shooter, described as being in his mid- to late-30s with heavy tattoos, remained at large as of Tuesday afternoon. Investigators recovered his blue Mercedes and were searching for a black pick-up truck also apparently connected to the crime, police said.

During a Monday news briefing, Acevedo urged anyone with information to come forward and issued a warning to the suspects.

“We are coming after you,” he said. “We’re going to capture you.”

Rios, a father of four, was the fourth Houston police officer killed in the line-of-duty since December 2019. Arson investigator Lemuel Bruce and Sgt. Harold Preston were each killed by gunfire in October.

The killing also came on a deadly day in Houston involving a string of other fatal shootings.

Lyn Rathburn, owner of Cactus King on Stuebner Airline, said he was working out back, several hundred yards from the road, when he heard three loud cracks that sounded like cars or construction noises.

“By the time I got (up front), police were everywhere,” he said. “I was going ‘What’s going on?’”

He pieced together what happened from news accounts and his employees.

“My heart goes out to the family,” Rathburn said. “I cannot believe something like that would happen right out here. It is Houston and we are on a freeway … that stuff can start across town and end up here.”

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Gun-toting security guard stops SW Houston hotel robbery

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A Houston security guard was able to stop a brazen robbery attempt at a hotel and now, authorities want your help finding the men involved.

It happened at the America’s Inn Hotel in the 10500 block of Southwest Freeway in July, but video of the incident was released recently by Houston Crime Stoppers.

Video shows a Ford pickup pull up to the hotel when three men jumped out. One of them smashed the front door with a crowbar before jumping over the lobby counter.

That’s when the security guard is seen confronting the first man with her weapon drawn.

While that was happening, two of the men were in the process of pulling a chain from the back of the truck and appeared to be attempting to wrap it around an ATM in the lobby.

As the first suspect took off from the lobby, all three men and the driver were able to get away before taking the ATM.

Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspects in this case. You can submit anonymous tips by calling 713-222-8477 or online at crime-stoppers.org.

SEE ALSO: Caught on camera: Man forces Houston restaurant employees to crawl on floor

RELATED: Celebrating 40 years: Crime Stoppers continues to help HPD put criminals behind bars

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72 percent of Houston hotel loans are in danger during pandemic

Houston’s hotels are floundering during the pandemic. Seventy-two percent of securitized lodging loans in the area are delinquent, according to securities data company Trepp, compared to 23 percent across the nation.

a tall building in a city: The majority of Houston securitized hotel debt is delinquent as the pandemic and energy bust empty hotel rooms, according to securities data company Trepp.

© Steve Gonzales/Staff Photographer

The majority of Houston securitized hotel debt is delinquent as the pandemic and energy bust empty hotel rooms, according to securities data company Trepp.

Trepp has predicted a “wave of foreclosures” over the next several quarters.


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Social distancing measures meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have hit the hotel industry particularly hard. Former business travelers are meeting over Zoom instead of coffee; conventions, sporting events and festivals that once attracted visitors have been canceled; and though leisure travel has begun to return, many are opting to escape cities rather than visit them.

SHAKY DEBT: ‘Wave of foreclosures’ expected to hit commercial real estate market

Houston-area hotels are struggling more than its peer cities, including Dallas and Austin. While loan payments on $720 million of the $995 million in Houston-area hotel loans that have been packaged into commercial mortgage-backed securities and sold to investors are behind on their payments, only $248 million out of $1.48 billion (23 percent) is delinquent in the Dallas area and $310 million out of $886 million (35 percent) in Austin.

That’s because Houston’s hotel market is dealing not only with the pandemic but also an energy bust, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE. Houston is likely to take longer to recover than will the nation and other major Texas markets because of complications in energy-related industries, according to the company. It predicted Houston’s hotel market may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

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