Competency hearing pushed back for man charged in Orlando shooting spree

Jailen Houston, 20, pleaded not guilty to tourist district shootings

Jailen Houston, 20 (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A competency hearing in Orange County was pushed back to late April for a man arrested in December, accused of using an AR-15 to perpetrate four shootings throughout Orlando’s resort-heavy tourism district, injuring two women in the process and allegedly telling deputies that he felt good doing it.

Jailen Houston, 20, who’s being held without bond, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of shooting at, within or into an occupied vehicle and six counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

The judge in Houston’s case said Thursday that a doctor’s report is not yet complete, so the hearing was moved to April 27.

Houston was arrested Dec. 14, 2022, as an Orange County deputy responding to a crash on Interstate 4 near the Osceola County line met with him and saw the gun in his passenger seat, officials said. That encounter came after a slew of shooting calls were made in his reported wake — the first from Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, followed by calls regarding three scenes clustered between I-4 and International Drive — all within a half-hour timespan.

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According to an affidavit for Houston’s arrest, he had traveled to Central Florida two days prior to enroll in a university, later becoming frustrated with Westgate upon thinking he was being scammed while trying to check in. Houston allegedly said that he drove to a store where he bought ammunition and magazines before returning to the resort with his weapon loaded, opening fire in the lobby, wounding a woman and driving away, according to authorities.

A call came in from Marriot’s Cypress Harbor Villas about 10 minutes later, where deputies said Houston, who was in his car, shot a woman working as a security guard.

After another five minutes, the sheriff’s office said Houston pointed the gun at several people and fired at multiple apartments along Integra Cove Boulevard.

Four minutes after that, deputies said Houston shot at two occupied cars and a Mears bus with young children on board at Central Florida Parkway and Westwood Boulevard. No one was injured.

Deputies said Houston confessed to the shootings.

“He was asked how he felt about the shootings, and he said he felt good, said it relieved some of the frustration he felt,” Orange County undersheriff Mark Canty said during a news conference.

When News 6 reached out to Houston’s attorney in the days following the shootings, we were given the following statement:

Untreated mental illness and unfettered access to assault rifles is an epidemic in this country creating tragedies that have lasting effects on both the victims and the young men accused of these crimes. I have no further comment at this time.

Blaine McChesney

Note: Due to the information provided, this map depicts the general area of the shootings and not necessarily their exact locations.

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About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.