Man accused of killing wife kills self as police close in
A man accused of slaying his estranged wife outside Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Cypress late Thursday took his own life as police confronted him at his hotel room Friday morning, officials said.
Deputies found 62-year-old Arthur Edigin at the Extended Stay America hotel he fled to after firing into a car carrying his wife, Graciela Torres, 66; his daughter, Penny Edigin-Zapata, 31; and his 17-month-old grandchild.
Edigin-Zapata was critically wounded in the shooting in a parking lot outside the church at 11500 block of Huffmeister Road. The toddler was not hurt, police said.
“It shows you how heinous the crime was,” Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Thomas Gilliland said. “It kind of shows you the mindset of the person we’re dealing with.”
A SWAT robot found Edigin in a bathtub dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound around 6:50 a.m., Gilliland said.
Parishioners at the Christ the Redeemer learned Friday morning Torres and her daughter were not members of their church. The two women were taking an ESL class Cypress Assistance Ministries was hosting at their community center and had just parked their car, Pastor Sean Horrigan said during the Friday morning mass.
The sanctuary was quiet and somber as congregants arrived for the church service. Horrigan led a prayer for those involved in the shooting, including Edigin.
“It was a terrible act of violence against women and someone who was clearly, probably in a violent situation,” Horrigan said. “Therein lies the real travesty: the tragedy of domestic abuse and violence that is so often seen in society in this day and age. Our prayers must be with the family.”
The reverend told his flock the domestic dispute between Edigin and Torres began “a few weeks ago and it carried over into last night.”
The shooting prompted a manhunt with authorities sharing Edigin’s photo on social media. He was tracked to the west Harris County hotel at 2424 West Sam Houston Parkway, where a SWAT team tried for nearly six hours to coax him out of his room.
Law enforcement officials fired multiple gas canisters into the fourth-floor room through a window. Some were treated for minor respiratory issues as a result of the gas, Gilliland said.
It is not known when Edigin shot himself. After he stopped communicating early on in the standoff, first responders began evacuating guests.
“You have a very dangerous subject, and the most important thing was the citizens of the hotel,” Gilliland said.
Guests were startled to learn there was a wanted man among them.
“The guy, he could have went crazy and shooting wildly,” Tommy Armstead said.
Don Thomas was reconsidering his move to Houston while waiting for the standoff to end. He was in town looking for a place to live.
“We might have to go back to the country somewhere,” Thomas said. “We’re not used to this at all.”