‘The Definition of a Serial Killer:' Police Tie Celina Murder Suspect to at Least 3 Dallas Murders

Dallas police say a man charged with four murders may be a suspect in other offenses in surrounding cities, with investigations ongoing

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What to Know

  • Man charged in Celina murder tied to three murders in Dallas
  • Dallas police say man may have committed other offenses in the city
  • Man also suspected in shootings in Frisco, Prosper and Denton

Dallas police say the man suspected in the murder of a Celina, Texas man is now charged in three other murders in Dallas, including the Halloween murder of an SMU student, and could be tied to several other Metroplex shootings that took place within the last week.

Celina police on Thursday identified 31-year-old Jeremy Harris, of Red Oak, as the suspect arrested and charged with the murder of 60-year-old Blair Carter, his ex-girlfriend's father.

Dallas police say the man suspected of killing an SMU student on Halloween night has been arrested and detectives are calling him a serial killer. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero reports, police say he may be linked to a string of murders and shootings in several North Texas neighborhoods.

Dallas police said during a news conference Friday morning that Harris is now the lead suspect in two other fatal shootings as well as an aggravated assault that took place within hours of each other last week, the fatal shooting of an SMU student on Halloween and that he is also being looked at for three separate shootings that took place last week in Denton, Prosper and Frisco.

Police said the murder in Celina involved a known connection, with Harris having dated his victim's daughter in the past. All of the other shootings, police said, appeared to be random with no apparent connection between the gunman and the victims.

Jeremy Harris is now being held on $3 million bond in connection with three murders in Celina and Dallas, polie say.

Investigators said Friday morning that they uncovered evidence that places Harris at the site of four Dallas shootings, three of which were fatal. Dallas police said they have not yet interviewed Harris and have not revealed a motive for the shootings. They said they have seen no evidence to suggest he had an accomplice or was with anyone else when the shootings took place.

On Thursday, Harris was being held on a murder charge with a $1 million bond. With the additional three murder charges in Dallas, his bond has been raised to $3 million and could be raised yet again. He is being held in the Collin County Jail.

Dallas Chief of Police Renee Hall, called out recently by a frustrated Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson over the recent spate of violence in the city, said Friday morning the string of shootings were unusual and alarming.

"It was alarming because it was separate and apart from anything that we've seen," Hall said. "These were incidents of random homicides and random acts of shooting that were, as I said before, inconsistent with any of the homicides and or aggravated assaults that we've seen throughout the year."

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson spoke to reporters in front of City Hall Wednesday morning reiterate calls for the reduction of violent crime in the city and caution people to practice social distancing measures as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Police said there may be evidence Harris is connected to other crimes in the city but that due to the ongoing investigations into those crimes they declined to provide more information Friday.

"We could not be more grateful for having this individual out of our community," Hall said Friday morning. "Violence itself, homicides and aggravated assaults put a certain level of fear in our community, to begin with. But the knowledge that someone is randomly, with no real reason and reckless regard for human life is going around murdering individuals is a separate fear."

Dallas police said Friday morning that they started comparing the recent shootings in their city to the Celina case after receiving a bulletin about the homicide and the suspect's vehicle being a black Tahoe.

Friday afternoon, Denton police said preliminary evidence suggests Harris is the suspected shooter in a random shooting in Denton on Nov. 17. In that incident, police said a 20-year-old driver and her 20-year-old passenger reported driving down the road when a vehicle pulled up beside them and began shooting into their vehicle. Both females sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 Investigates, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said she is offended by the treatment she has received from Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and that she believes the mayor’s recent attacks on her leadership have become personal.

Dallas police Deputy Chief Avery Moore said Friday morning homicide detectives talked with witnesses to shootings in Celina and the other northern suburbs and were able to secure a search warrant that uncovered additional evidence, including phone records and cartridge casings that experts say all match and that put Harris at all of the shooting locations in Dallas.

"There was a shooting in Denton, Prosper, Frisco and there was an actual homicide in Celina. The detectives thought it was interesting from the perspective of there was a black vehicle that was associated with all of the shootings as well as the homicide," said Moore. "We were able to discover more evidence that put the arrested person … at all three of these [Dallas] locations at the exact time these offenses occurred."

Deputy Chief Ramirez said the connection between the shootings in Dallas and in the northern suburbs was that they were all apparently random with no known association between the shooter and the victims other than in Celina. He also noted that in each instance, the gunman was shooting out of a vehicle and appeared to be alone.

Dallas police said Friday Harris has a criminal past. According to records pulled by NBC 5, Harris was released from parole in May and has previous convictions dating back to 2008 for drug possession, burglary, assault, evading arrest, assault against a family member, criminal trespass and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Friday afternoon, Denton police confirmed that based on preliminary evidence Harris is now the suspect in the shootings that took place in their city, as well as the ones reported in Frisco and Prosper.

Celina Murder

On the morning of Nov. 18, Celina firefighters were called to a home on the 1400 block of Anvil Court after construction workers building in the area heard several loud bangs they said sounded like gunshots and smoke rising from a nearby home.

After putting out the fire, a man's body was found inside the residence. That man was later identified as Blair Carter.

Witnesses told police they spotted a man running from the home while carrying what appeared to be a black backpack. They said he left in a black Chevrolet Tahoe.

Upon the discovery of Carter's body, several law enforcement agencies arrived to assist in the homicide investigation, the first in Celina since 1985. Information soon led police to identify Harris, who dated the victim's daughter, as the suspect.

Harris was taken into custody in Ellis County that evening and ordered held on $1 million bond.

A body was found inside a home after firefighters extinguished a fire in a neighborhood in Celina Wednesday, city officials say.

Dallas Murders, Shooting

According to Dallas police, 36-year-old Adam Gautreau, a homeless man with an 11-year-old son, was shot nine times near the intersection of Empire Central and N. Stemmons Freeway at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Video from a gas station across the street from where Gautreau was found shows a black SUV speed away from the intersection after someone exited and then returned to the vehicle.

Gautreau's family told NBC 5 he was "kind, caring and always smiling" and was someone who would "never hurt a soul."

About a half-hour later, Dallas police were called to another shooting along South Beckley where someone in a black Tahoe pulled up and fatally shot 57-year-old Kenneth Hamilton as he sat at a stoplight.

“I just couldn’t believe that someone would take an innocent life and he was not the type of person who would be bothering anybody, and they just took his life senselessly,” Joyce Hamilton, the victim's wife, told NBC 5.

At 12:45 a.m. Monday morning, Nov. 16, another person was targeted in a shooting along the 6000 block of East Grand Avenue where a person's car was hit multiple times by gunfire. The person in the car survived the shooting.

SMU Student Killed

Dallas police said Friday that Harris is also a suspect in the killing of a 19-year-old SMU student who was fatally shot on Halloween in downtown Dallas.

Officers responding to the shooting call at about 3 a.m. and found Robert Jaden Urrea with a gunshot wound in the middle of the intersection of South Harwood and Jackson streets.

Police said surveillance video from nearby showed Urrea walking up to a white, four-door vehicle with a sunroof and custom wheels. After the vehicle leaves, Urrea is seen stumbling into the intersection and falling to the ground, police said.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Deputy Chief Moore said Friday afternoon that detectives found a picture of Harris in front of a Ford Taurus on social media. From the plate, they determined the car was owned by his current girlfriend, who is not the daughter of the victim in Celina.

The woman told police she and Harris were involved in an altercation on the night of Oct. 31 and that he assaulted her and then left in her car for about four hours. Police said it was during that time that they believe he killed Urrea.

Investigators said they have evidence that puts Harris in the area of the murder at that time and that he'll be charged with the murder Friday.

Frisco, Prosper Shootings

The shootings in the northern suburbs of Frisco and Prosper took place between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Nov. 17.

Frisco police said they were called to a shooting at 9:50 p.m. Nov. 17 near Lebanon and Elmwood, north of Texas 121 and HIllcrest, where a person was shot but did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

About a half-hour later, a drive-by shooting was reported in Prosper along Preston Road where the driver of a pickup truck was shot in the arm or shoulder.

Prosper police tweeted that night the gunshots were believed to come from a dark-colored sedan, not an SUV as reported in the Dallas and Celina homicides, and that the same driver was believed to have been involved in the shooting in Frisco earlier in the evening. They warned that night that the driver was believed to be headed north into Celina.

Denton Shootings

At 10:39 p.m. on Nov. 17, officers were called to the 1200 block of E. University Drive where two 20-year-old women were shot.

Police said the women reported a vehicle pulling up beside them and that someone began shooting into their vehicle.

The women were hospitalized for gunshot wounds that were not considered life-threatening.

Denton police said Friday afternoon that, based on preliminary evidence, Harris had been named a suspect in the shootings in Denton, Prosper and Frisco.

NBC 5's Maria Guerrero, Meredith Yeomans and Patrick Randolph contributed to this report.

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