KTRK Shooting: Shots fired at TV station building

A woman was arrested after she allegedly opened fire on the Channel 13 studios Thursday morning
March 27, 2014 6:20:24 PM PDT
A person opened fire outside the KTRK-TV studios Thursday morning, and was quickly taken into police custody, thanks to a quick-thinking eyewitness.

It was right around 9am when police say the woman, identified as Michelle Monique Burks, fired off several shots at the front of our building on Bissonnet at Buffalo Speedway.

At five minutes before 9am, a cell phone picture was taken from across the street of Burks firing at the front of the ABC-13 building.

Jeff Tobin was about to turn onto the street when he saw a woman with a gun, shooting.

He said, "She had her phone in one hand and I heard a shot. But she had her phone and she was trying to take a photo. I don't know what she was doing."

Several shots hit glass on a second-story plate glass window. Several cars in the front parking lot were also struck.

It's important to note that the shooter made it no farther than the security fence that encircles station property. Police were immediately called.

Burks was gone by the time police arrived, but was caught a few minutes later. She was placed under arrest and a gun recovered from her car.

Houston Police Officer Julie Pleasant said, "We don't know how many shots were fired. We do know it was a semi-automatic handgun, probably with a capacity of about 12 rounds."

Houston police believe it was the same car in which Burks was stopped that was in the station parking lot six weeks ago -- the morning during which several cars were hit by bullets. The driver's description doesn't match Burks, but police are investigating that connection.

Then there are the Facebook messages Burks began sending to Channel 13 news staff in January, and some other media outlets were on Burks' list as well. She posted rambling, sometimes paranoid demands to remove cameras and listening devices from her home. Her post just before Thursday's incident echoed some of her earlier messages: "I am self-defense."

Now Burks is in jail. What alarmed Tobin is that just across the street is the church daycare where he was taking his son.

"If she's hitting the windows of that building, she could hit these as well, so that was my concern," he said.

A KTRK spokesperson issued this official statement: "We want to thank Jeff Tobin, the alert eyewitness who heroically took photos while shots were still being fired, which helped police quickly apprehend the suspect. We are grateful to Houston Police Department for their fast response, that no one was injured and the ABC-13 staff is safe and sound."

Burks, who is in her mid-40s, is charged with felony deadly conduct. Additional charges may be added. A court records check shows no prior criminal history.

No one was injured in the incident.

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