A year after an 84-year-old man was gunned down on his morning walk in the quiet Pinehurst subdivision, police are still looking for help in resolving the apparently random murder. On Thursday, Baytown Crime Stoppers increased the reward offered for information leading to an arrest in the case to $25,000.
Sam Wingate was out on his usual morning walk about 6:30 Aug. 15, 2018, along with a friend when a light-colored car drove by and the driver fired multiple rounds at the two men.
Wingate was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where he died four days later from his injuries.
In a press conference Thursday, Baytown police spokesman Lt. Steve Dorris said police have gotten several tips they have followed up, but none has gotten them any closer to identifying the gunman.
Houston police are also involved since detectives are sure the same suspect was involved in an attempted shooting in the Heights area of Houston in July of 2018 and believe he was involved in another shooting in the Heights area in October of 2018.
All three shootings involved what appeared to be the same car captured on video and involved the car pulling up to a person walking, the driver speaking to the person and firing a weapon at them when they turned to respond.
The first intended victim, a woman walking her dog, responded by quickly dropping to the ground and was not injured. Shell casings recovered at the scene match the weapon used in Wingate’s murder.
In the third case, the victim was a man who ran when the attack started. The shooter got out of his car and continued shooting, wounding the victim. No casings were recovered in that case, and Dorris said police think a different weapon was used.
Wingate’s daughter, Kelly Dando, said the last few years of her father’s life were challenging: his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, then he had quadruple bypass surgery, which he recovered from, then lost everything when Hurricane Harvey hit. Soon after, his wife died.
“My dad was really just getting his life back to a new normal and was able to walk. He had started walking his two miles, which he had done prior to the heart surgery, and this senseless killing happened.
“My plea, my family just humbly asks that if anybody knows anything, just a sliver of something…that you will please find it in your heart to do the right thing and contact the police department,” she said.
Dorris said that this long after the crime a tip from someone who knows something about it is the most likely route to solving it.
He said police believe the vehicle used is a Chevrolet Malibu from the 2004-2008 model years. One witness described the shooter as a black man, about 6 feet tall and possibly in his 30s.
Houston police have released an artist’s sketch of what they believe the suspect to look like.