HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston police officer was killed and a teenager and another officer were wounded Tuesday when a man opened fire on law enforcement responding to a domestic disturbance call, authorities said.
Police Chief Art Acevedo said officers arrived at the apartment in southwest Houston around 8 a.m. where they met a woman who said she was moving out and needed to retrieve her belongings, but that her husband would not let her in.
About an hour and a half later, the woman’s 14-year-old son opened the apartment door and 51-year-old Elmer Manzano came out and began shooting at the officers who returned fire, Acevedo said during a news conference.
Sgt. Harold Preston, 65, was shot multiple times, including in the head, and died at a hospital, Acevedo said. Officer Courtney Waller was shot in the arm and is in stable condition at a hospital, he said.
Manzano and the teenager were also shot and are expected to survive. Acevedo said he expects Manzano to be charged with murder and that police have repeatedly responded to domestic calls at the home.
A SWAT team and other emergency personnel surrounded the building and Manzano surrendered around 10:30 a.m., Acevedo said.
The shooting came amid an uptick in domestic violence in Houston and other cities as the coronavirus pandemic has forced people to spend more time in their homes.
Acevedo said Manzano has an criminal history but declined to provide details. Harris County court records show he pleaded guilty in 2002 to felony evading arrest and was sentenced to 120 days in jail. The chief said he doesn’t know what type of gun Manzano used or whether it was obtained legally.
Preston was with the Houston police for 41 years, while Waller has three years of service. Acevedo praised Preston’s decades of leadership “from the front.” Preston, who looked after his elderly parents, lived long enough for his family to get to the hospital, he said.
“He is a hero,” Acevedo said. “As good as he was a cop, he was a better human being.”