Metro Cop No-Billed In Shooting; Agency's Top Cop Says He Did Apologize To Victim

A Harris County grand jury on Monday no-billed the Metro officer who shot and killed a knife-weilding man who had threatened at least one Metro passenger. Accidentally shot in the May 5 incident was Guadalupe Acosta, who subsequently sued Metro.

Metro Police Chief Tom Lambert revealed the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer R.L. Harrington at a press conference today.

"We're confident that Officer Harrington did exactly what he was supposed to do," Lambert said.

The Houston Police Department investigated the shooting. Although Lambert said he read HPD's report, he said it would not be "appropriate" for him to comment on the findings.

Lambert and Metro Spokesman George Smalley also refuted claims raised by Acosta and her attorney.

Lambert stated that, contrary to Acosta's claim, he expressed his regret to Acosta on the day of the shooting. He said he also gave her and her employer -- who was visiting Acosta in the hospital -- his business card, and said she could contact him for any reason.

And while Acosta told Hair Balls that her husband spoke with Lambert about who would cover her medical bills, Lambert said today he never spoke with her husband that day.

In a statement released at the press conference, Metro believed that "published media reports last week created a very inaccurate picture of what transpired on the day of the shooting and in the days following. While initially reluctant to openly discuss the case because a lawsuit had been filed, the taxpayers -- who ultimately pay legal fees and settlements in such cases -- need to know the facts."

Moreover, "Mrs. Acosta and her employer did not call Metro for assistance. They called a lawyer, Randall Sorrels. In fact, Mr. Sorrels told Metro that he was contacted the same day as the incident."

According to the statement, "From the beginning, Metro fully intended to keep Mrs. Costa financially whole, and still does."

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow