Since Thanksgiving, at least four homes have been invaded by gun-toting masked men who bash down doors at night or during the early morning hours. Three people are dead and a boy has lost a finger in the mayhem.
Police say that the attackers tend to target homes suspected of stashing cash: drug traffickers or immigrants from Asia and the Middle East who run small, cash-based businesses.
“These guys are violent criminals,” said Franceska Perot, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “You see them now more prepared – ski masks, zip ties (handcuffs), firearms. They basically have a plan when they go into these homes.”
Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told The Associated Press that the home invasions are not believed to be related. Home invaders, who sometimes act on tips, try to intimidate residents into handing over drugs or cash.
On November 11, five masked men claiming to be ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agents men burst into a home in North Houston, shooting through the closed front door to gain entry. Neighbors, who spoke highly of the traumatized family, were perplexed.
At about midnight on November 24, Trieu Quoc was shot and killed when several suspects kicked in the door to his home. His brother and two young children were not harmed and nothing was stolen.