AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Police Department announced Friday a teenager was arrested in connection with a string of drive-by shootings on Labor Day.
During a press conference on Friday morning, APD Chief Martin Birkenfeld said APD’s violent crimes unit obtained arrest warrants late Thursday night for David Lee Winfield, 18, of Amarillo.
Birkenfeld said investigators gathered information after the shootings, working tirelessly to solve the case. He said as a result of their investigation, evidence led them to recover the suspect vehicle. This, after APD released video of the suspect vehicle to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
“I mean, you had a significant number of people believing that the vehicle was a Pontiac G6. And that, in fact, was the vehicle that we recovered last night was a Pontiac G6,” said Birkenfeld. “Again, there’s still a lot of work to be done to connect all the dots, but certainly every tip that we get is helpful and we’re very appreciative of those.”
He said after they recovered the suspect vehicle, detectives interviewed Winfield.
“Based on the evidence obtained yesterday, they obtained arrest warrants from the 47th District Attorney’s office last night,” Birkenfeld said on Friday. “Winfield was booked into the Potter County Jail late last night on these charges.”
Birkenfeld said all of the warrants were for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which were directly related to the shootings on September 6. He said in this case, the charge is a second-degree felony.
Those drive-by shootings were all in North Amarillo, four in the Eastridge neighborhood, and one at 15th and Madison, which resulted in the death of Laura Etta Ashley, 62, of Amarillo.
The shootings of Monday, Sept. 6:
- 12:05 A.M. – APD officers were called to the 900 block of Heather on a drive-by shooting, where a 17 year-old was shot in his upper body while driving his vehicle. He was taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
- 12:36 A.M. – APD officers responded to the 1300 block of Aster. A 20 year-old victim was driving in the 1000 block of Eastern Street and the suspect vehicle came up beside him and began to shoot. The victim’s vehicle was hit, but he was not injured.
- 12:41 A.M. – APD officers responded to the area of NE 20th Avenue and Iris Street. A 48 year-old victim told officers she was driving on NE 20th Avenue when the suspect vehicle drove beside her and began to fire into the driver’s side of her car. She was not injured.
- 8:20 P.M. – APD officers responded to the 6700 block of NE 19th avenue. A 52 year-old victim told officers that she was followed by the suspect vehicle to that area when someone in the vehicle fired shots at her, hitting her vehicle. She was not injured.
- 9:21 P.M. – APD officers were called to the intersection of NW 15th Avenue and Monroe Street. A 62 year-old woman was found dead in her vehicle by officers, and was reported to have been shot while driving.
APD believes there is one suspect and they do not have a motive for the drive-by shootings.
“Right now, the information that we have confirms what we suspected at first and that this was random violence,” said Birkenfeld. “The people had no idea who this person was, and they were just, unfortunately, in the wrong place at the wrong time when the shooter decided to commit these violent acts.”
Birkenfeld said he expects more charges to be filed against Winfield in this case.
“There’s still the murder of Ms. Ashley that we’re investigating that we believe is connected to this and so we still have a lot of work to do to make sure that we thoroughly investigate, but we still believe that’s connected. We just haven’t made the complete case yet,” he continued. “But we’ve we have contacted the family of Ms. Ashley and explained where we’re at in the investigation.”
He said APD will continue to investigate this case, and the FBI’s local office has helped with technical support. That office remains active in the investigation.
“We’re also going to look at anybody else who had information on this case that may have been involved in either failing to provide information or hiding evidence or anything else that could be involved in this case,” said Birkenfeld. “So, we’ve still got a lot of work to be done.”
Birkenfeld said APD officers put in hundreds of hours investigating, and will likely put in hundreds more.
He said they have yet to find a weapon connected to these shootings.
“Our sympathy is with the victims and the families that were affected by these horrific crimes,” said Birkenfeld. “We’re committed to completing this investigation thoroughly and bringing justice to all of those who are involved.”