A Houston man out on bail after being charged with the murder of his girlfriend has been arrested in connection with the murder of his aunt in the Willowbrook Mall shootings.
Dante Thomas, 20, was arrested last month for the alleged murder of his live-in girlfriend, Linda Vu, 24, the mother of two young children who were in their home when she was fatally stabbed.
The New York Daily News reports Thomas told police he killed Vu following an argument. He was charged with her murder but was released on $50,000 bond.
On Wednesday evening, gunshots were heard around 7:20 p.m. at the Willowbrook Mall by a security officer. The security guard found a Toyota Tundra pickup parked in front of the Macy’s Men's store with two wounded women inside.
The shooting victims were the aunt and cousin of Thomas.
Charlotte Ellis, Thomas’ 68-year-old aunt, died at the scene. His cousin, 48-year-old Damitra Ellis, was critically injured and taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Ellis may lose her eyesight due to the injuries she sustained.
Thomas reportedly called his mother from the mall, admitted to killing the two women, and asked her to come and get him.
Thomas’ mother told police she picked him up and was driving him to surrender, but he jumped out of the car, reports KHOU. He was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force on Thursday in northwest Harris County.
In addition to murder, Thomas has been charged with aggravated assault of a family member for the alleged shooting of his cousin.
Jeff McShan, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said it is not uncommon for bail to be granted to Texas murder suspects with no prior arrest history, as was the case with Thomas.
A neighbor of Thomas’ does not think he should have been on the streets.
"It's kind of crazy. He shouldn't have been released," said a female neighbor who asked not to be identified. "He's already killed somebody and then two more people, that's crazy."
Thomas is now in custody and his bond has been revoked.