IM this article to a friend!

December 18, 2002

Holiday crime wave hits Bay Area

From: The Citizen - online, TX - 18 Dec 2002

The list of felony charges on Curtis Martin Felts -- the man suspected of committing a string of crimes across the Bay Area -- grew even longer last week when La Porte police charged him in connection with a September shotgun attack.
Felts, 46, was snatched out of an RV trailer at the Bayshore Mobile Home park on Saturday, Dec. 7, by officers from several different law enforcement agencies.
The fugitive was jailed on numerous charges stemming from a recent rash of boat thefts in Seabrook and Kemah, vehicle theft and parole violations.
Inside the trailer, police found a sawed-off shotgun and a small amount of marijuana, said Kemah Asst. Police Chief Roy Owen.
On Tuesday, La Porte police officially charged Felts with aggravated assault in the shooting of a deaf man on Fairmont Parkway two months ago.baytown pd281 422 8371
On Sept. 17, just before 2 a.m., police believe Felts -- armed with a shotgun -- was driving in the 700 block of West Fairmont Parkway, near the La Porte Post Office.
Felts shot at another motorist driving the same direction, said Lt. Carl Crisp of the La Porte Police Criminal Investigation Division. The pellets went through the door of the victim's vehicle and hit the man in the leg.
The victim, described only as a deaf black male, 24 years old, suffered injuries to his leg but survived.
Sources say the victim may have been using sign language and Felts may have thought he was using gang signs.
The incident was listed as a "gang shooting" on a wanted flyer issued by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force for Felts' arrest.
Crisp said Felts and the victim didn't know each other. "We're not sure of the motive, because these two guys didn't even know each other. They weren't even acquaintances. It's one of the strange, unsolved elements of this case," he said Tuesday.
Numerous police agencies mounted an intense manhunt for Felts after he was implicated in the thefts of at least seven expensive boats from dealerships in Pasadena, Seabrook, Kemah and Nassau Bay.
The manhunt was intensified when family and friends told police Felts said he "wouldn't be captured alive."
Police already knew Felts' violent history: He committed an armed robbery in 1975 in Deer Park and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released after serving six years of that sentence.
Then, in 1982, Felts was sentenced to 30 years in jail for the attempted capital murder of a police officer, stemming from an shooting incident in Baytown.
Last week, that officer -- Byron Jones, who is, ironically, now Baytown's chief of police -- recounted the violent events that took place that night three decades ago.
"(Felts) had committed an aggravated robbery at the Exxon service station at the corner of Highway 146 and Texas Avenue," remembered Chief Byron Jones.
"Dispatch put out a description of his vehicle and I spotted him headed south on Highway 146. I caught up with him at Goose Creek, and when I put on my red lights, he took off," Jones recalled.
Felts then led Jones on a harrowing chase through the now-defunct Baytown tunnel, weaving in and out of the congested tunnel traffic at speeds in excess of 100 mph.
At the Highway 225 interchange, Felts headed west towards the rural area of Lomax. He flew down Sens Road with Jones still in hot pursuit.
"At this time, during the chase, I knew that Felts had been involved in an armed robbery in Euless about a week previously. There was a BOLO (be on the lookout) for his car, and I'm chasing him. But I really wasn't familiar with the Lomax area and I was trying to spotlight the street signs so I knew where I was," Jones remembered.
Then, Felts made a desperate turn at the corner of Avenue P and Valley View, and Jones heard something slam into the side of his patrol cruiser.
"It sounded like a board flying up and hitting the side of my car," he remembered.
At that same instant, Felts' car went spinning off the side of the road, and Jones made his move.
"I pulled up, got out, and ordered (Felts) to stay in his vehicle," Jones said. "At that point, I looked at my driver's side door and saw what the loud noise was."
The noise he heard was the sound of a shotgun blast from Felts' sawed-off shotgun, which ripped into the door of his patrol car only inches from his leg.
"That's when I realized (Felts) had lost control of his car while firing the shotgun out of his window," Jones said.
The chief was not injured in the shooting or the pursuit, but he realized the potential tragedies that were avoided when Felts was arrested last week.
"I heard (Felts) was a suspect in the boat thefts, and I knew he had said he wasn't going to be taken alive. After the incident I was in, along with the Euless robbery, I was concerned for any officer because (Felts) had the ability to be very dangerous," Jones said. "I'm glad he's in custody."
Even Jones noted the eerie similarities between his nail-biting ordeal and the recent shooting of the deaf man in La Porte.
"It seems a sawed-off shotgun was his weapon of choice," Jones said.
However, that specific choice may have put Felts even further into the legal trenches: As numerous law agencies lined up to interview Felts about crimes they believe he is involved in, talk of federal charges being brought against him surfaced because modified guns, including rifles of less than 15 inches, are prohibited by federal law.

©Clear Lake Citizen 2002