Houston: Indian-Origin lawyer with Nazi sympathies shoots 9, shot dead

Last Updated 28 September 2016, 07:19 IST
An Indian-origin lawyer in military style clothing emblazoned with a swastika went on an early morning shooting rampage injuring nine persons in Houston on Monday, before he was killed by police.

Nathan Desai, the 46-year-old shooter who previously worked at McDaniel & Desai LLP, was wearing a vintage military uniform and had Nazi emblems on him.

Acting Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo told reporters yesterday that police did not yet know exactly what caused Desai, described as a lawyer struggling to keep his small law practice alive, to do what he did.

"At this point we are very open-minded in terms of motive," Montalvo said, adding the department was working with the FBI to find answers.

Desai used a .45-caliber handgun during the assault and police later found 2,600 rounds of ammunition and a Thompson submachine gun in his car, a black convertible Porsche parked near where he was killed.

Desai lived in a condominium complex near the scene of the shooting at Weslayan and Law streets.

A search of his home turned up additional weapons and several pieces of military regalia and other items going back to the Civil War. The .45-caliber handgun was bought in 2011. The Thompson submachine gun was purchased in 2009, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing police.

Photographs of Desai's body show he apparently wearing military-style spats strapped over his boots. He was lying face up. His dark shirt was over his face.Police said Nazi emblems were found in his clothing.

"We did find some old Nazi emblems about some of his personal effects, and I understand there were some in where he lived," the paper quoted Houston Police Capt. Dwayne Ready as saying.

"To what extent that played...I don't know, because there was also other, what I would refer to as historic or vintage military stuff in the apartment, going back to the Civil War."

According to local media, Desai's father said his son was upset over the failure of his law firm and the business closed due to a lack of clients. He confirmed his son owned multiple guns and said he had a license to carry.

He said Desai drove a black Porsche, the same type of car police were examining in the shopping centre parking lot. That car's license plate showed it was registered to Desai.

Desai held a bachelor's in psychology from the University of Houston and a law degree from the University of Tulsa, where he graduated in 1998, according to the Texas State Bar Association.

He specialised in criminal, business and family law, according to the bar association. Houston Police said officers had never previously encountered Desai.

Yesterday's shooting came days after a shooting at a Washington state mall left five people dead. On September 17, a 20-year-old man stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer.
(Published 28 September 2016, 03:23 IST)

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