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Police: Texas man shot, killed 3 women in car

A man riding with three women began shooting inside the car, fled on foot after the vehicle smashed into a pole and was caught when a bystander tackled him, authorities said Friday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man riding with three women on a Texas road began shooting inside the car, fled on foot after the vehicle smashed into a pole and was caught when a bystander chased and tackled him, authorities said Friday. All three women in the car had gunshot wounds and died.

Jacob Gonzalez, 21, is charged with three counts of capital murder and was being held in Nueces County on a $3 million bond. He is accused of opening fire inside the car Wednesday night, and starting a chilling sequence that included 911 calls of a man running through the streets with a gun.

Gonzalez's court-appointed attorney, Mark Woerner, said Friday he was still gathering facts but planned to file a motion for Gonzalez to undergo a mental competency test.

"Based on my first meeting with him, I thought it would be a good idea," Woerner said.

Corpus Christi police spokeswoman Julia Hernandez-Garcia said Friday the shooting appeared to be a "domestic violence situation." Gonzalez already was on probation after pleading guilty to charges of attacking his then-girlfriend in 2009 with a pocketknife, according to court records pulled by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. That woman was not among the three killed Wednesday.

The victims in Wednesday's shooting were identified as Virginia Rodela, 21; Maricela Lisa Ybarra, 26, and Vivianna Amaya, 18. All three had been shot and Rodela was found dead at the scene. The other two were transported to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

Amaya was in an "on again, off again" relationship with Gonzalez and Ybarra was her aunt, authorities said. Hernandez-Garcia said she could not confirm whether Rodela had a previous relationship with Gonzalez.

According to the Caller-Times, Gonzalez's last Facebook posting Monday said he was depressed, lonely and going to kill himself.

Hernandez-Garcia said she did not know when the shooting began. According to police, the car crashed into the pole after striking another car, and when Gonzalez fled the scene, a witness ran him down and held him until police arrived. A gun was found on Gonzalez, police said.

In 2009, Gonzalez's then-girlfriend said he became violent after she refused to talk about their relationship, according to police reports obtained by the Caller-Times. Her hands were cut after she put them up to deflect his attack.

Gonzalez went on to plead guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief. He was sentenced to 10 years' probation and ordered to attend anger management classes and a batterer's intervention program.

Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka told the newspaper that prosecutors in the case had asked for a five-year prison term.