Serial killer manhunt, plant explosion, gas leaks and a police shootout headline a busy week in Cypress

Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department's Tanker 12 assisting units on scene with tanker-shuttle operations at the plant fire in the Western International Gas Company, located at 7173 HWY 159 in Bellville, on July 17, 2018. (Photo courtesy CFVFD Deputy Chief Zach Maher)

CYPRESS — For the past week, the Cypress area seemed more like the wild west than the relatively quiet bedroom community it’s grown into.
Last week started with a manhunt for a serial killer.
Tuesday morning, July 17, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez reported that 46-year-old Jose Gilberto Rodriguez was captured before 7 a.m. The arrest of the accused Rodriguez was in connection with the deaths of Pamela Johnson and Edward Magana. There was a pending charge in the death of Allie Barrow.
CFVFD helps save the day
Also Tuesday morning, the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department answered a call for mutual aid in Bellville as a gas plant explosion led to evacuations up to a five mile radius. More information is available on the Cypress News Review’s article (
Gas line leak leads to evacuation
Tuesday evening, the CFVFD was on hand to assist with a situation at the Lakewood Medical Plaza on Louetta Road. The plaza was evacuated due to a gas line leak. CenterPoint repaired the gas leak within a couple of hours, according to the Precinct 4 Constable office.
Early morning house arson leads to arrest
Friday morning, fire investigators from the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the cause of a residential fire at the 18,600 block of Spinney Lane, as arson and charges were filed against Lisa Merka, 46.
Law enforcement officers involved in Cypress shootout
That afternoon, close to 3 p.m., local law enforcement officers, including a Cy-Fair ISD police officer, put an end to a massive shootout in the Circle at Point Park apartment complex.
A food delivery driver reported he was robbed by at least four suspects, Friday afternoon. Police arrived in the area and were met with gunshots and bullets aimed at them.
“Robbery suspects are shooting at units arriving on scene,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said via his Twitter account. “One suspect has a gunshot wound.”
The wounded suspect was later pronounced dead. The situation ended with 19-year-old Javier Lopez killed in the gunfight, and with three more arrested. The trio included Joshua White, 17, and two juveniles — one 13 and the other 15.
The sheriff tweeted that at one point they had six in custody. No officers were injured and that 10 deputies and one Cy-Fair ISD police officer had fired their weapons during the incident.

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