Charles Wilson Curry Jr., a House of Cards fan who worked in various capacities for Republican politicians at the Texas State Capitol, including briefly for the House Speaker, is accused in a random shooting rampage in Austin that spanned two days and left one man dead.
Austin police allege that Curry, 29, killed a man named Christian Meroney on July 9, 2018 in Austin, Texas, and then shot four more people in vehicles two days later. He was driving when shooting, police allege. The motive remains unclear. He has ties to the Texas Legislature, where he was once employed in various positions. His name is also given as Charles Curry Jr. Curry’s cover photo on Facebook is a photo of the Texas State Capitol from 2016. “The Office — at Texas State Capitol,” it reads.
“House of Cards must continue,” he wrote on Facebook in 2017. He also shared the Facebook page of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. In 2014, he asked on Facebook, “Does anybody think I can make it as a male model?”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Accuse Charles Curry of Driving Around & Shooting Multiple People
The shooting spree was brief but frightening. Joseph Chacon, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department, said in a news conference that a series of incidents occurred July 11, 2018, and police ultimately learned that they were “tied to a murder that occurred in the city on July 9.”
The 911 calls started coming in to police just after 2 p.m. on July 11. “Three of the four victims were driving,” said Chacon. One of the victims was a 33-year-old Hispanic female who was shot in the head while in her vehicle with three children.
“Thank goodness the wound was not fatal,” said Chacon. “It was superficial. She was transported to the hospital and is recovering well.” Another victim, a 25-year-old white female, was driving when a bullet “entered the vehicle and went right behind the driver’s head. She did experience injuries” from the glass hitting her face, said Chacon. In the other two cases, shots were fired, but no one was injured.
Altogether, there were four shootings in a short duration on July 11. Chacon alleged that police believe Charles Curry Jr. was also driving at the time he is accused of firing a handgun. There may be multiple weapons involved, police say.
“In all four shootings, there appears to be no signs of provocation on the part of the victims. They appear to be completely random in nature,” said Chacon. The victims and witnesses described a similar car, a Chevy Tahoe, and police spotted the trend and alerted patrol.
“We were on the hunt to find this individual and stop this activity as quick as possible,” Chacon said.
However, police later learned that the shootings were connected to a recent homicide two days before, he said. An arrest affidavit obtained by the Austin American-Statesman says police obtained video surveillance footage at a local gun range where Curry allegedly bought “a gun suppressor” and acted oddly.
2. Christian Meroney Was Shot & Killed at an Apartment Complex
Police solved the case because they were able to locate surveillance video that led them to the suspect vehicle, and its registration. They noticed the shootings bore some similarities to a homicide on July 9.
“That was just kind of on our radar at that point,” said Chacon. It was close to the scene of the third incident. The victim’s name was Christian Meroney, who was killed at Post South Lamar apartment complex.
“We did not have a motive developed yet, and we are still in the very preliminary stages in that investigation,” said Chacon. Police eventually did ballistics testing that proved forensically that the shootings were linked, he added. Curry was arrested around 6 p.m. July 11, 2018 at the Post South Lamar apartments located at 1500 South Lamar Blvd.
“The same weapon was used in both incidents,” Chacon said. Curry was placed under arrest after police received a call of a man shooting a firearm. They identified him as Charles Curry, a white male who lived in Austin. He was taken into custody without incident, and a murder charge is expected.
“We think it’s isolated in nature,” said Chacon. “The motive is really unknown.” He said that rumors that explosives were also found are not true.
“It appears he was driving and shooting at the same time,” Chacon added. KXAN-TV reported that one bullet went through the car door of a couple driving in an apartment parking garage.
According to an earlier police press release on Meroney’s death, on Monday, July 9, 2018, police responded to a call of shots fired at the Post South Lamar Apartments. “Upon arrival, officers discovered Christian Meroney with obvious bodily trauma. Officers joined witnesses who were attending to Meroney, before EMS arrived on scene. Despite everyone’s efforts, Meroney succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene at 1:56 p.m.,” the release says. “The Travis County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy…and ruled the manner of death a homicide. Meroney died from a gunshot wound.”
It’s not clear what tie Curry had to the victim, if any, police said. According to his LinkedIn page, Meroney attended the University of Texas at Austin until 2009. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Meroney was regarded as “passionate, charismatic and well-loved” to those who knew him. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family.
3. Curry’s LinkedIn Page Says He Had a Background in Finance & Politics & Facebook Photos Show Him With a Firearm
Curry’s Facebook page contains various photos of the Texas legislature, as well as pictures of Curry with friends and family. One photo shows him with a firearm. A woman wrote under it, “Great picture of my handsome son.” The family is based in Lexington. In 2013, he wrote, “No pistol ammo left in Lexington!!! Wtf.”
In 2011, he wrote on Facebook, “Is a registered rep in Ky!”
In 2017, he wrote, “I don’t understand the British governance system. Can anyone give me some clarification on all these snap elections. Why is May weaker?” In 2016, he shared a story about veterans who were deported. In 2015, he wrote, “Ted Cruz’s new catch phrase undocumented democrats in reference to illegal immigrants may be the best finesse I’ve seen by a republican in a long time.”
That year, he also wrote, “Ayn Rand wrote a book called Atlas Shrugged. A place existed there where men went when they looked up and understood. Where are they now? Where is this place? Bc I know they are there.” He also wrote, “The supreme courts ruling on equality in the context of marriage should be viewed more as a victory over corporate america than an advancement of individual liberty. Perhaps, the court will eventually extend their conclusions to include equal wages for all who work.”
He noted, “Where do I apply for Anthony Bourdains job?” He wrote in 2013: “So apparently, Native Americans have decided that the Washington red skins need to change their team name bc it’s offensive to them. Who knew?” He also wrote, “Damn westerns have had fears of Islamists for along time. But for Egypt to crack down like this really suggests that some progressive middle easterners are sick of this shariah bullsh*t too. Comments…”
On LinkedIn, Charles Curry touted his “financial background with a current focus in politics. Policy oriented with experience in MUDZ, LIDZ, and TIRZ.”
He dropped the names of various Texas politicians on the page writing, “Navigate private investment real estate deals through the legislature. Campaign experience working for The Speaker, Joe Straus and Representative Lyle Larson. Looking to connect businesses and individuals with legislators.” Larson and Straus are Republicans.
He claimed that he was working for a company called KellCurr Consulting in Austin. “Demonstrated ability to formulate strategy and roadmaps to steer campaigns, build support and optimize buy-in from key stakeholders, political leaders and thought leaders,” he wrote of his skills. “Skilled liaison and communicator, adept at building partnerships with diverse groups, organizations and agencies that evoke constructive discussion and advance shared goals.”
However, he also had a history of losing jobs, according to KXAN-TV.
4. Curry Was a Sergeant at Arms in the State Senate & Described Working for Various Politicians
Curry wrote that, for four months in 2017, he worked as Campaign Coordinator for Joe Straus (Speaker of the House). Among his duties: “Canvass on behalf of State Representative Lyle Larson and The Speaker of the House, Joe Straus. Assess support and collect data on issues via tablet and asses the policy concerns of constituents in the field. Based on those observations, craft policy that is effective and directly drawn from citizen statements.”
ABC13 reported that Curry also worked as a “former staffer for Houston-area State Senator Joan Huffman,” who released a statement after the rampage. It read: “Charles Curry was employed in the office of Senator Joan Huffman from November 2, 2016 until terminated on May 5, 2017. He was hired as a temporary employee for the 85th legislative session. The crimes alleged are tragic. Senator Huffman and her entire staff grieve for the deceased young man and for his family, and pray for the quick recovery of the other victims.” She is also a Republican.
He claimed to work as a policy analyst for the Texas State Senate for eight months in 2016-17, writing, “Staff the Senator on Finance, Business & Commerce, Transportation, and Intergovernmental Relations Committees.” Among his duties: “Service and assist constituents with requests, or concerns, and liaise with subject matter experts.”
He worked as the Senate Sergeant of Arms for three months in 2016. “Act as a liaison between Senator’s offices and various other Departments in State Capitol,” he wrote. “Establish procedures of protocol based on discussions with Senate and House Sergeant.”
Before that he was a property manager and a financial analyst for J.P. Morgan in Lexington, Kentucky and a fixed income analyst for Merrill Lynch, the page says.
According to KXAN-TV, the consulting firm Murphy Nasica “represents Speaker of the House Joe Straus’ political team,” and a firm representative told the television station that “Curry was hired as voter contact coordinator for 12 days in September of 2017. He then told them he had a medical issue and disappeared for two weeks.” He briefly came back but wasn’t hired on permanently when his trial period ended.
He was then hired by Barrage LLC, “vendor working on the campaign of State Rep. Paul Workman. There he was fired for ‘poor job performance,'” KXAN-TV reports. Workman is also a Republican politician.
5. Curry Claimed to Be Freshman Class President at Vanderbilt University
Curry’s LinkedIn page also describes a successful college career. The page says he graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree, studying Economics and History with a minor in Corporate Strategy.
He wrote that he had a 3.4 grade-point average and graduated in 2011. Under “Activities and Societies,” he wrote, “Freshman Class President, elected at large by freshman class Winner of the Vanderbilt Entrepreneurial Challenge Omicron Delta Epsilon Economic Honors Society Director of Alumni Relations for Vanderbilt University Sailing Club Student Leadership Council Executive Primary Student Consultant for the Quality Enhancement Plan Committee.”
The page claims he volunteered at a charity car show in Kentucky to help a Children’s Hospital. On Facebook, Curry said he is from Lexington, Kentucky and attended Henry Clay High School.
In 2014, he wrote on Facebook, “Please grant me strong enemies so that when I overcome them I know I am stronger. Make my struggles unbearable so that my victories mean so much more. Let me feel my heart break so that I will learn how to fix it. Let me swallow my sorrow so that happiness will taste so much sweeter. Let me find someone Who will accept all that I can give to them and repay it every day. Let me remember that it is no ones responsibility to make me smile Except my own.”