Murder-Suicide Strikes Houston Mall

Man set fire at his job, then murdered store worker before killing himself


HOUSTON -- The gunman behind a fatal shooting at a north Houston mall set a fire at his job and called his ex-wife before choosing his victim at random, police told KPRC Local 2.

Investigators said Jason Hawkins, 33, set at a fire at his office at AT&T Solutions before he went to Greenspoint Mall Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. and saw Joanna Gonzalez, 20, open the Body Luxuries store.

Police said he went inside, pulled a gun and held Gonzalez at gunpoint. According to authorities, moments before the shooting, Hawkins was confronted by mall security, who then contacted police.

While in the store, Hawkins called his ex-wife in Ohio.

"I pretty much miss you and I wish I would have actually stayed with you," Hawkins said on the tape. "Yes, this is a farewell type phone call. Unfortunately, I never thought I would be in this position, but I am. So, I guess if you watch the Houston news, you'll see me. So, I'll, I guess I'll talk you later. Well, I won't talk to you later. I'll see you either in heaven or on earth. Tell my family I love them."

On the call, Hawkins said he felt like an outcast. Houston police said Hawkins had been evicted from his apartment.

Police said Hawkins took Gonzalez to a back room and shot her before killing himself.

Investigators and the family of Gonzalez said she never met her killer.

Police said they believe Hawkins planned to sexually assault Gonzalez, but did not get a chance.

There is a growing memorial outside the family home of Gonzalez.

"She loved to dance. She was a shooting star. She was the star of everything," said her sister, Stacey Gonzalez. "There is a big old hole that's not -- not going to be filled for the fact that she's gone and this person that took her -- he could have took his own life and left her alone. If he was going to die, he could have just shot himself."

Gonzalez's family said her funeral is planned for the weekend.

No one was injured in the office fire.

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