HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Nathan Desai, a Houston attorney, apparently disgruntled by the closure of a law firm he had founded, randomly shot and injured nine people Monday morning.
The 46-year-old Desai was ultimately shot and killed by police. His identity wasn’t made public until well after the shooting, after the medical examiner’s office had released its report.
Standing outside his car and behind a tree, Desai shot at cars and pedestrians until police arrived at the scene. The suspect continued to shoot as police attempted to intervene, until he was taken down.
Acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo told reporters that nine people were injured in the shootings. Three people were not seriously injured, and were released after being taken to the hospital. Three others were treated and sent home the same day. Three others are in serious condition, but are expected to survive, said Montalvo, adding she has been in touch with the families of the victims.
No police officers were injured in the incident. Desai was engaged by multiple officers as he too was shooting, other officers entered via an alternate route to rescue the wounded.
While he was shooting, Desai was dressed in a vintage Nazi uniform with no body armor, and shooting with a semi-automatic .45 caliber handgun. He was also found in possession of a tommy gun, according to Houston police. Both weapons were purchased legally by Desai: the handgun was bought in 2005 in Houston, and the tommy gun was purchased in 2009 in College Station, Texas. The handgun was retrieved near Desai’s dead body; the tommy gun was found in Desai’s black Porsche convertible, near the scene of the shooting.
More than 2,600 rounds of ammunition were also found in Desai’s car.
Houston Police Department Homicide Captain Dwayne Ready told reporters at the press conference that no motive has been established for the shootings. “We believe he was acting alone,” he said. Ready said the suspect was also armed with a knife.
An FBI agent was also in attendance at the press conference, who said Desai was not being associated with any terrorist organizations or extremist groups. Local media initially incorrectly identified Desai as a Muslim.
Desai received his law degree from the University of Tulsa, and started practicing law in 2003. Six months earlier, Nathan Desai and his law partner, Ken McDaniel, shut down their boutique law firm in Houston, due to financial reasons.
McDaniel told Houston Public Media that he and Desai had agreed to go their separate ways as lawyers in February and that he hasn’t spoken to Desai since.
“I guess the best way to put it is just the business was slower than it’s been,” he said. “And we felt that we could probably each be better off going on our own and assuming our own private practices rather than a partnership situation.”
“He was always at work every day, we always went to court, (he) did his work,” McDaniel said. “He was a good lawyer, good standing with the bar. I’m at a loss for words for what has happened. It’s horrible.”
Asked directly if his son was the shooter, Prakash Desai, his father, said: “No, I don’t think so,” and added that he could not conceive of his son committing such a heinous act.
Both Prakash Desai and McDaniel noted that Nathan Desai was licensed to carry guns, because of the nature of his law practice.
Desai was raised in Houston and practiced criminal, family, bankruptcy, civil and business law.