What Set Charles Curry Off?

Questions remain following last week’s shootings

Charles Curry
Charles Curry

Last Monday, July 9, gunshots rang down the hall of the Post Apartments on South Lamar. A tenant exited his unit to investigate the noise, and stumbled upon a crime scene. His 32-year-old neighbor Christian Meroney lay in a pool of blood at the end of the hallway, a crumpled rent check at his side.

Meroney lived alone in the upscale complex, which is within walking distance to the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse, as well as a number of music venues and restaurants near Lamar Square. His family and friends told reporters that they had no idea who would've wanted to harm the UT graduate and sports fanatic. They were still trying to piece Monday's events together two days later, on Wednesday, July 11, when the man believed to be responsible for Meroney's murder began a seemingly random shooting spree around South Austin in his Chevy Tahoe. The Tahoe would eventually lead police to identify 29-year-old Charles Curry, who lived a few doors down from Meroney, as the suspect in the shooting.

Just after 2pm, a mother driving her three children south on I-35 suffered a "superficial" gunshot wound to the left side of her forehead. A second report of gunfire came in from nearby Ponciana Drive, though no one was hurt in that incident. At 2:30pm, a caller told 911 operators that they heard shots fired in the 1500 block of South Lamar, near the Post. Again, no one was injured. Then, a little farther down South Lamar, a woman driving her car suffered non-life-threatening injuries when a bullet broke through her car window and struck her head. Surveillance video tied Wednesday's shooting spree to the July 9 homicide, and ballistics testing showed that the same weapon was used in each incident.

Around 5pm, APD responded to yet another call, this one to report a man shooting a gun off Bob Wentz Park Road, at Lake Travis. The caller told dispatchers that the man, carrying a rifle, had loaded his boat into the water and fired off a round. Responding officers watched as Curry returned his boat and trailer to Austex Towing on Farley Drive.

Meanwhile, another set of officers had gathered at the Post, where they awaited Curry's return. He arrived wearing only shorts, and officers witnessed him attempt to enter into the complex through a side entrance. (He had a key, but it had already been deactivated by Post management.) Passersby watched as Curry was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Charges for the Meroney murder came on Friday.

APD has no reason to believe any of the attacks were provoked, and still doesn't know what may have motivated Curry's in-car rampage. But officials did learn that just hours before the drive-by shootings, Curry sought to buy a gun silencer from a nearby shooting range, telling the clerk that he had both a handgun and a rifle. Curry behaved so suspiciously that the clerk turned him away.

Curry previously worked as a staffer for state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and briefly for the political consulting firm Murphy Nasica. Both offices distanced themselves from him when the news broke. For the past four months he'd been working on his own political consulting firm, KellCurr Consulting. He remains in Travis County Jail on a $3.25 million bond.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Christian Meroney, Charles Curry

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