Police hunt for suspect in two-day shooting spree

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Updated 8:44 pm, Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The search for an “armed and extremely dangerous” man accused of brazenly shooting and killing two people on Monday and wounding a third person the next day remained underway late Tuesday, authorities said.

Harris County Sheriff’s deputies said they suspect Russell Jeffery Cormier, 53, was behind all three attacks. They say he is an ongoing threat to the public.

All three shootings occurred in northeast Harris County – just east of Greater Fifth Ward. The latest incident in the string of violence came at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday when Cormier allegedly shot a neighbor one time in the 6000 block of Shotwell in northeast Houston, Harris County Sheriff’s deputies said.

The man, whose name has not been released, is expected to survive.

Neighbors who lived on that street refused to speak to the Houston Chronicle, citing fear, given that the gunman is still on the run. Houston police are investigating the Shotwell shooting.

A few hours later, the sheriff’s office identified Cormier as a suspect and asked the public for help in locating him.

The first two of the three shootings came Monday and only a few hours apart. The first victim was Cormier’s ex-wife, Fannie McWhite.

Cormier has since been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of McWhite about 6 a.m. Monday in a driveway near her home as she ran away from him in the 12300 block of Greencanyon Drive.

McWhite’s former attorney said the couple’s divorce was finalized in 2014, nearly two decades after the two married in 1997.

“I recall there being some concern about him,” attorney Dessiray Cusic said Tuesday. “She was really stressed.”

In 2014, a judge granted a temporary restraining order for McWhite against Cormier.

After shooting McWhite, deputies think Cormier returned to his trailer home on Shotwell, gathered some belongings and set the trailer on fire.

Cormier then fled the scene, deputies reported.

Two hours later and 5 miles away, deputies and a neighbor said, Cormier sat and allegedly waited for his next victim, a 60-year-old unidentified man.

The man was beginning his workday and unlocking the entrance to a business he worked for, Superior Truck Care, on Kindred Drive.

Cormier then pulled up beside the man in his vehicle and opened fire with a pistol, killing him, deputies reported.

The victim “was a hard-working guy, just like your average everyday guy who tried to avoid drama,” said Steve Slaughter, who works at a business nearby.

Deputies described Cormier as a 6-foot, 160-pound man last seen driving a late-2000s model black Dodge Stratus that was missing the front driver-side hubcap.

According to court records, Cormier did not appear to have a prior criminal record.

Crime Stoppers has offered up to $5,000 for information in the case, asking for tips to be called in to 713-222-TIPS (8477).

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