Bayou Body Count: There Actually Is An Ax-Murderer On The Loose

Did Houston police officer R.G. Gardiner shoot John Barnes on Saturday evening unnecessarily?

The police department says no. The official version goes that Gardiner, who was working an off-duty security job at the Woodland Hills Village Apartments at 2139 Lake Hills Drive, saw Barnes and a woman arguing outside their home. When Gardiner approached Barnes and tried to arrest him, Barnes ignored him and the two men got into a struggle. Barnes then disarmed Gardiner of his Taser and pointed the Taser at the officer. Fearing for his safety, Gardiner then fired, reportedly five times, killing Barnes.

But according to the Houston Chronicle, Barnes's girlfriend Karen Bennett claims that's not how it went down.

Bennett reportedly says that the shooting was totally without cause. She says she and Barnes were arguing but that Barnes never assaulted her and that she never cried for help. She says that Gardiner did not make a very good attempt to find out what was going on and that the two men got into a struggle when Gardiner tried to force Barnes onto the ground. As for the Taser, Bennett says that Barnes did knock it out of Gardiner's hands because he was afraid of being shocked due to the metal plate that was put in his head years ago after an accident.

When Gardiner pulled out his gun, Bennett told the Chronicle, Barnes said, "What are you going to do, shoot me?" Without saying a word, Bennett claims, Gardiner killed Barnes.

The case is being investigated by the Internal Affairs Division and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

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Perhaps Michael Louis Deloach thought he was being clever. Burglarize the home, kill the owner, then torch the place to burn the evidence. At least that's the theory coming from the Houston police. Investigators have charged Deloach, 27, with capital murder for the killing of Brett Elliott, 54, on March 30 at 9850 Pagewood.

According to police, a neighbor of Elliott's called the fire department to report smoke coming from Elliott's town home. After firefighters arrived and put out the fire, they found Elliott dead on the first floor, beaten to death. Police say Deloach originally confessed to burglarizing the home, but on Monday investigators had put together enough evidence to charge him with killing Elliott.

It's not often that you hear the phrase in real life, but yes, there is an ax-murderer on the loose.

Houston police say that they found Lewis Holiday, 41, on Sunday night inside his apartment at 5838 Hirondel. He had been struck several times in the head with an axe. They are continuing to investigate.

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Also, the Harris County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a man on Monday afternoon on the 13600 block of Westpark. Detectives say the Houston Fire Department extinguished a car fire near a Harris County Flood Control retention pond and discovered a badly burned body inside.

Update: The alleged axe murderer ... is no longer loose. Houston police have arrested Robert Fulton Burns, 42, on charges of murder. Police say Burns was Holiday's roommate and has admitted his role in the killing.

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If anyone has information concerning these investigations please call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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