Chief Art Acevedo held a press conference Saturday morning in a Walgreen's parking lot off South Braeswood where earlier an 80-year-old woman was stabbed to death in a car jacking. A Houston police officer then shot the man believed to have killed her.
A nine-year veteran officer, whose name was not released, was pulling into the Walgreen's parking lot around 10 a.m. on a routine visit and once notified by witnesses, confronted the man with verbal commands to exit the car, Acevedo said. The police chief said the man ignored the commands and proceeded to threaten the officer with a six-inch knife, which was when the officer fired his weapon. Acevedo stated he had reviewed HPD footage of the incident as well as Walgreen's surveillance footage.
Acevedo expressed remorse as well as frustration due to the spotlight on officer-involved shootings in the current climate as he stated that homicides have increased nearly 50 percent this year— and that including the 80-year-old woman this morning, that number was now 125.
"Where is the outrage for that? We are chasing the same crooks out here. Where is the outrage when our cops are putting their lives on the line arresting the same person time and again who has a violent history? So don't come and talk to me about officer-involved shootings when nobody is putting a mike in the hands of the judges who are letting these crooks out time and again.
“Why is the police chief, the police department, talking about these judges? They want me to go away, well I’ve got news for them, I’m not going away, and they’re not going to shut me up."
Acevedo announced the Houston Police Department was ready to begin putting out the following information: suspect, crime, history, bonding history, and the judges and the decisions they've made. "We will let the public decide,” he said.
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Prior to the incident at Walgreen's, at 9:55 a.m. the Houston Police Department received a phone call reporting a man appearing to be in his 30s who was asking for money and scaring customers with a knife outside of nearby Fiesta Mart. Police arrived six minutes later and were unable to locate the man. Acevedo stated Walgreen's employees noticed a suspicious man standing outside and hadn't had time to call the police.
The Houston Fire Department pronounced the man dead at the scene, while the woman was later pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital. Acevedo stated the officer had previously never been involved in an officer-related shooting before.
Acevedo said the HPD Special Investigations Unit will investigate the use of deadly force by the officer and that they will also handle the investigation into the woman's death. HPD Internal Affairs was also on site as was the Harris County District Attorney’s office and Houston Forensic Science conducting a parallel investigation.
"We need to pray," Acevedo said. "It’s fortunate we are led by a Mayor and a City Council that believe in the power of prayer… there is spiritual warfare going on, not just here, but across the world, and it’s just crazy. We have to pray for this city, pray for this nation, and pray for this world.”