A shooting in Houston on Thursday morning left a mother dead and her companion critically injured but her 3-year-old son unharmed in the back seat.
Although many facts are still unknown at this time, the mother — identified by police as 34-year-old Danielle “Danny” Banks — was apparently killed while driving after a suspect opened fire on her passenger side from another vehicle, fatally wounding her in the process.
The incident unfolded shortly before 3 a.m. in the 2800 block of W. Gulf Bank Rd. at W. Montgomery Rd., according to a media briefing from Houston Police Assistant Chief Jessica Anderson.
Eyewitnesses recalled having seen the two vehicles — one white and one maroon — moving eastbound at high speeds. After hearing several shots fired, they saw the maroon car, driven by Banks, crash.
The white car was spotted continuing for two more blocks before blowing a tire.
“A hot spot unit heard [the eyewitness report] and responded to W. Montgomery and located the white vehicle where two passengers were attempting to change a tire,” Anderson continued. These two individuals are now in police custody.
A third person — the suspected shooter — is believed to have exited the white car and fled on foot after the tire blew.
Next to Banks in the maroon car was a 41-year-old male passenger, whom police have yet to publicly identify.
The passenger sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was rushed to a hospital. He is now recovering after undergoing surgery.
Investigators are still searching for a motive for the shooting, with road rage being possible, given that the two vehicles appeared to have hit each other at some point.
Houston police are interrogating the two individuals picked up near the white car and will question Banks’ passenger when possible.
As for the toddler recovered from Banks’ vehicle, he was unharmed in the shooting. His grandmother, Banks’ mother, arrived quickly at the scene and took him into her care.
“I can imagine this is a very traumatic event for him,” said Asst. Chief Anderson.
While Houston had recorded 207 homicides in 2023 as of late July, Dallas — a city that is half the size and with a million fewer residents — had seen 170 homicides as of September 7, according to the Dallas crime analytics dashboard.
Efforts to fight crime in Dallas have been hampered by a shortage of police officers, with approximately 3,100 currently employed by the City. A City report previously recommended 4,000 officers to manage crime based on population size, with three officers needed for every 1,000 residents.