Houston police officer killed, 2nd officer injured in shooting; suspect arrested

Southwest

HOUSTON (NewsNation Now) — A Houston police officer was killed and a teenager and another officer were wounded Tuesday morning 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 was shot multiple times, including in the head, and died at a hospital, Acevedo said. A 41-year veteran with the force, Preston was planning to retire this year. The chief described Preston as an officer who did not just sit around, and took care of his elderly parents.

“He’s a hero,” Acevedo said.

Officer Courtney Waller was shot in the arm and is in stable condition at a hospital, Acevedo said.

Manzano and the 14-year-old 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.

Acevedo said Manzano has an extensive criminal history but declined to provide details.

The chief also praised a bystander who was videoing the police before shots were fired and stopped to render aid to Waller.

Acevedo said the bystander is a self-proclaimed ex-gang member. He said, “[He] helped put his tourniquet on, had the presence of mind to say, ‘hey that guy that just shot you, he could come out and try to shoot us again,’ escorted our officer to the front of the complex.” 

Acevedo said he plans to honor the man who helped at a later date.

Police escorted Preston’s body to the medical examiner with a motorcade.

NewsNation affiliate KIAH-TV obtained the following statement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott after the shooting:

“Our hearts are with the family of Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston who was shot and killed in the line of duty this morning,” said Governor Abbott. “This tragic loss is a grave reminder of the dangers our brave law enforcement officers face while keeping our communities safe. Cecilia and I ask our fellow Texans to join us in lifting up Sgt. Preston’s family in prayer in their time of need. We also ask all Texans to pray for the speedy recovery of Houston Police Officer Courtney Waller who was shot while responding to the same incident and is recovering in the hospital. The state stands ready to assist the Houston Police Department in bringing to justice the perpetrators of this horrific tragedy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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