Man shot, killed in northwest Houston ambush

Police are investigating a shooting in northwest Houston that left an 18-year-old male dead Friday evening after a suspect walked up behind him on the street and opened fire, officials said.

Houston Ship Channel still closed as 9 toxins found in water near ITC

A portion of the Houston Ship Channel remained closed Saturday as the U.S. Coast Guard attempts to determine what amount of volatile chemicals have leaked from fire-damaged Intercontinental Terminals Co. tanks into the waterway that serves as an economic engine for the region.

Test results published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Saturday afternoon confirmed what officials feared — that contaminants, including carcinogenic benzene, were found in hazardous concentrations in an ITC drainage ditch that flows into the ship channel.

The Coast Guard has no timetable for when it plans to re-open the closed a 7-mile stretch, home to the second-largest port in the United States, measured by tonnage. What began as a small storage tank chemical fire a week ago now threatens to harm one of Houston’s largest industries.

Jim Kruse, director of the Center for Ports and Waterways at Texas A&M University, said vessels can anticipate bad weather and adjust schedules accordingly. Sudden port closures can quickly bring financial pain to shipping firms. A Texas A&M study of a four-day closure of the entire Ship Channel in 2014, due to a fuel spill, found outgoing vessels suffered $7.3 million in losses.

“It’s a big mess and a serious problem,” Kruse said. “They have to pay extra when they’re sitting at the docks. If they don’t deliver on time, those penalties add up past, to many thousands of dollars.”

Tim Hicks, a Coast Guard Vessel Control watch supervisor, said Saturday evening 25 vessels are stuck in the ship channel, while another 26 await permission to enter. They include cargo ships, as well as gas and chemical tankers of varying sizes.

“I’ve got ships as large as 820 by 144 feet and as…

Pedestrian killed on SH 249

A pedestrian was killed Saturday morning attempting to cross State Highway 249, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the pedestrian was trying to cross at the 14300 block of State Highway 249 around 2 a.m. when they were struck by a sedan driving outbound.

The pedestrian failed to yield to the sedan, deputies said, and the driver, who was not impaired, was unable to avoid the collision, authorities said.

The driver remained on scene and attempted to render aid, deputies said.

The crash is being investigated by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Vehicular Crimes Division.

Houston police officer in custody after Pearland killing

A Houston police officer is in custody as a person of interest in the deadly shooting of a woman in Pearland, according to two law enforcement sources. Pearland police were called at noon Saturday to a house in the 1900 block of Canyon Creek Court, af…

At Kamala Harris’ Houston rally, former Beto O’Rourke supporters weigh a new option

During the 2018 Texas Senate race, Austin resident Michele Schwartz canvassed for Beto O’Rourke and opened a pop-up office for his campaign at her home. A “religious” follower of Pod Save America — a favorite podcast among liberals — the race between O’Rourke and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz presented her with an obvious choice.

On Saturday, though, Schwartz turned out for a rally at Texas Southern University to hear U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, stump to a Houston audience for the first time in her presidential campaign. Already, Schwartz, 50, has soured a bit on O’Rourke, turning instead to her preferred candidate: Harris.

“I’m even less excited about him since his announcement rollout,” she said, donning a black “Kamala” hat. “I just didn’t think it was very professionally done, and I think at this stage of our country, we need a candidate who can have the right people behind him and supporting him, or her … because they’re going to throw everything they can at this candidate.”

Hardly a week into his campaign, O’Rourke’s prospects in the nascent 2020 Democratic presidential primary may depend on the loyalty of his Texas base at the polls next March, 16 months after his narrow loss to Cruz.

Now with a menu of alternatives, including Democrats who are not white men and those who have embraced the party’s progressive policy planks with greater enthusiasm than O’Rourke, voters are considering candidates such as Harris, who sees an opening in the country’s third most delegate-rich state.

At Harris’ rally, some of the same Democrats who embraced O’Rourke for his slapdash campaign style and freewheeling rhetoric indicated they may be looking for something else in a presidential candidate.