The three young siblings killed inside a Texas City apartment building Thursday were beaten and stabbed to death, police said Friday.
Police called the killings “horrific” and possibly the worst crime in the city’s history, and Friday charged Junaid Mehmood, 27, of Texas City, with three felonies, including two counts of capital murder in the deaths.
Mehmood is accused of beating and stabbing the three children, including his own infant daughter, police said.
Angela Pilot, 5; Prince Larry Brown, 2; and Ashanti Mehmood, 41 days old, were pronounced dead Thursday evening in the apartment where they had lived, police said.
The two capital murder charges apply to the three children, police said. One of the charges applies to the two older children, the other applies to the infant, police said.
Mehmood is also accused of beating his girlfriend, Kimaria Nelson, 24, and shooting her in the face and body with a high-powered pellet gun, police said.
Police were called to the Pointe Ann Apartments, 1225 10th St. N., about 6:15 p.m. Thursday by a relative concerned about Nelson and the children, Texas City Police Chief Joseph Stanton said.
That relative had entered the apartment and seen the body of one of the children and immediately called police, Stanton said.
Officers found Nelson hiding and injured inside the apartment, Stanton said. She was clearly traumatized, he said. Mehmood was not at the apartment when police arrived. The attack happened hours before police were called to the scene, he said.
“It would have been quite a while,” Stanton said of the killing. “It’s not something that was done immediately. It would have taken him some time to do what he is accused of doing.”
Police began searching for Mehmood because he was the only family member not immediately accounted for, Stanton said.
Mehmood called Houston police about 10:30 p.m. and identified himself as the suspect sought in Texas City, Stanton said.
Houston officers took Mehmood into custody outside a restaurant on El Dorado Boulevard in Houston on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for providing alcohol to a minor and transferred him into Texas City police custody, Stanton said.
Investigators spent much of Friday interviewing Mehmood, who implicated himself in the killings, Stanton alleged.
“He went into details as far as his involvement,” Stanton said.
Police have not identified a motive for the killings, but are investigating social media posts connected to Mehmood that appear to reference him being fired recently, police said. He was most recently employed at a Goodwill store in League City, Stanton said.
Police tape remained up around the apartment complex all day Friday as investigators continued to process the scene. A small memorial, including three balloons, two pink and one blue, had been placed near the apartment’s main entrance. The crime scene is just yards from the Texas City Police Department headquarters.
Nelson’s father, Taurus Nelson, said he did not have much information about what happened. He said he had only met Mehmood recently — when Ashanti Mehmood was born in November — and was not sure how long the couple had lived together.
“My grandbabies were full of life,” Taurus Nelson said. “They were playful; they were happy.”
At least a dozen Texas City police officers were working on the investigation, including all eight of the department’s detectives, Stanton said. He declined to describe the crime scene in detail, but called the deaths one of the worst crimes in the city’s history.
“It’s horrific,” Stanton said. “It is affecting our officers, what they’re having to deal with over there. Nothing to take away from the pain and suffering that the family is dealing with at this time, but my officers are suffering too.”
Investigators from League City Police Department and the Texas Rangers were also assisting in the investigation, police said.
Police withheld some details about Thursday’s events because they’re still seeking witnesses, including people Mehmood might have called before he was apprehended, Stanton said.
Mehmood has twice been convicted of assault causing bodily injury to a family member, and has also been convicted of robbery and fraud, according to court records.
He was released from prison in April after serving a three-year sentence for robbery, according to public records.
Angela Pilot, the oldest child killed, was a student at Texas City’s Roosevelt Wilson Elementary School, a Texas City Independent School District spokeswoman said.
Her teachers will be offered counseling and parents of Pilot’s classmates will be informed about her death, the district said. The district will leave it to parents to decide how to talk to their children about her death, officials said. Students return from winter break on Tuesday.
Mehmood was being held Friday without bail at the Galveston County Jail. No court dates had been set as of Friday afternoon.