HOUSTON—A rooftop sniper armed with an automatic rifle opened fire on a crowded downtown intersection yesterday, killing four and leaving area police officers greatly unimpressed. The seven-minute shooting spree, which also critically wounded at least 20 others in a busy lunchtime crowd, was described by the officers as “uninspired” and “lame.”
“To be quite honest, it’s been done,” Houston police chief Karl Slawson said, stifling a yawn. “Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five other cases in Texas alone where a guy snapped, got on a roof and fired into a crowd below. There’s just nothing new about it.”
The sniper, identified as 44-year-old Victor Huemanga of nearby Galveston, is still on the roof of the 21-story building and has vowed to kill again. “I will drown this city in blood,” he said. “Bodies will line the streets and gore will clog the sewers.”
Police are taking a wait-and-see attitude. “I’m just saying, he’d better do something different this time if he wants to get our attention,” officer Russell Davison said. “I don’t care how many people he kills, it’s got to be original. All the great killers have a hook. They don’t just stand up on some roof and shoot, even if it’s hundreds of innocent civilians. God, that’s boring.”
Said Police Chief Slawson: “Come on, dazzle us.”
When informed of the police reaction, Huemanga vowed to “kill and kill until the pain goes away.”
Families of the six victims have pleaded with Houston police officials to apprehend the sniper, but they have steadfastly refused. Instead, victims’ family members have been placed in a room and asked to fill out a series of complicated forms.
In a prepared statement sent to the media, Huemanga explained his reason for the rampage. “I want to vent my deep frustration with society, especially technology, which has made machines more important than people,” he wrote in a three-page typed statement.
The statement, like the killings, was met with extreme boredom. “Boy, I’m surprised by his reasons,” Slawson said. “He’s angry at society and technology. I’ve never heard that one before.” Slawson then rolled his eyes in an exaggerated fashion, underscoring the sarcasm of his comments.
Huemanga has also made a list of demands, including $2 million cash. “So you mean, if we don’t give him money, he may kill again?” FBI agent Horace Gage said. “No one’s ever demanded that before. We’d better get on it right away.” Gage, like Slawson, was being sarcastic.
According to police, the rooftop shootings represent the least original act of terror in the state of Texas since 1988, when a Dallas man kidnapped the wife of a wealthy oil magnate and held her for ransom.