HOUSTON - A man appeared intent on suicide, or what's known as suicide by cop, when he opened fire with a pistol inside a busy terminal at Houston's largest airport and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said Friday.
Carnell Marcus Moore, 29, of Beaumont shot himself in the temple with a 40-calibre semi-automatic pistol Thursday afternoon after shooting twice into the ceiling at a ticketing area at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
A Department of Homeland Security special agent who confronted him in the terminal also shot and wounded him in the shoulder when Moore refused to drop his weapon. Homicide Sgt. Brian Harris said Moore's head wound was the fatal gunshot.
"At this point we know what this was and what it wasn't," Harris' partner, investigator Fil Waters, said. "And what it was, was a desperate act committed by a confused young man who has apparently lost all hope."
Harris said Moore had a bag containing an AR-15 rifle with ammunition. That gun was not fired and not removed from the bag, which also contained a Gideon Bible and a suicide note that indicated Moore had no plans to hurt others, Harris said.
"'Here in the last hour, I yield to mercy when this could have turned bad,'" Harris said, reading some of the contents of the note signed by Moore.
Police said events leading up to the airport shooting began Tuesday in Beaumont when Moore abducted the female manager of the apartment complex where he worked as a maintenance man and insisted at gunpoint she accompany him to Houston, about 85 miles to the west.
Moore, who had no criminal record, apparently had become infatuated with her but Waters said she is engaged to another man and did not return his affections. She somehow convinced him to release her.
Authorities said she filed a report with Beaumont police Wednesday but they had not been able to confirm that.
Moore checked into a Houston hotel Tuesday. He called a brother who told police Moore had said about a month ago that he wanted to confront an armed officer. The brother told detectives he asked Moore if he had a gun with him but Moore said he had disposed of his weapons.
Surveillance video shows Moore arriving at the airport's Terminal B just after noon, dragging a bag he took from his pickup truck and taking a seat. The gunfire erupted about 90 minutes later. People in the terminal began screaming and running for cover but no one else was hurt.
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said it is not illegal for people to carry firearms in public areas and that Moore had not breeched secure areas of the airport.