ORLANDO, Fla. – A 19-year-old Georgia man who was in the Orlando area to enroll in college opened fire with an AR-15 at two Orlando-area resorts, where he struck two women, an apartment complex and at cars and a Mears bus, according to deputies.
Jailen Rasheed Houston, of Dallas, Georgia, was arrested on one count of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, but the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said more charges were expected to be filed against him.
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Sheriff’s officials said a 911 caller reported an active shooter at Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, where witnesses said a gunman, later identified as Houston, opened fire with an AR-15 and struck a woman before he left in a black Lexus sedan.
The victim was taken to Osceola Regional Medical Center, deputies said. Her condition has not been released.
About 10 minutes later, according to deputies, OCSO received a call at Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas, where a woman working as a security guard had been shot by a man driving a black car.
The woman was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center and underwent surgery, deputies said. Her condition has also not been released.
Five minutes after the call at the Marriott, a shooting was reported at Integra Cove Boulevard, where a man reportedly pointed a rifle at several people and shot into multiple apartments, according to sheriff’s officials.
Four minutes later, a man reportedly opened fire at Central Florida Parkway and Westwood Boulevard, firing a rifle into two cars and a Mears bus, the sheriff’s office said. No one was struck, but the cars and bus were occupied, including by several young children, according to deputies.
A short time later, an Orange County deputy driving on Interstate 4 near the Osceola County line observed a crash in front of him. The deputy made contact with Houston, who was sitting on a guardrail, and noticed an AR-15 rifle in the passenger seat of the car.
“This all took place within about 20 minutes,” Undersheriff Mark Canty said at a news briefing Thursday. “The thing to kind of focus on is our system worked. People saw something that happened. They called 911 immediately. Our deputies responded, and we took the suspect into custody. So that’s, that’s how it should happen... If you see something that doesn’t look right, if you see a person walking around with a rifle, call us and we’ll respond and we’ll determine if there’s a law being broken.”
Sheriff’s officials said Houston made a spontaneous utterance indicating that he was the man who opened fire at all the locations, all of which are within a few miles of each other. Houston was placed in handcuffs and taken to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Central Operations Center for questioning, where he was read his Miranda rights and confessed to the shootings, officials said.
According to an arrest affidavit, Houston said he traveled to Orlando two days ago to try to enroll in a university. Houston said he was frustrated with the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa because he thought he had been scammed earlier in the evening when he tried to check in, the affidavit stated.
Marriott released the following statement after the shootings:
“Last night at Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas, one of our associates suffered injuries while working on the property. Details of the event are under investigation, and we are cooperating closely with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The safety, security, and well-being of all our Owners, guests and associates is a top priority. Please direct any questions to law enforcement as this is an ongoing investigation.”
The company is unable to provide any additional information at this time.
Afterward, Houston said he drove to a store, purchased magazines and ammunition and loaded his rifle before returning to the resort, where he opened fire in the lobby before heading to the other locations, sheriff’s officials said.
When asked how he felt about the shootings, Houston said he felt good while shooting at people and it provided him a sense of relief, according to deputies.
Witnesses positively identified Houston and he was arrested, officials said.
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