HOUSTON – Police are investigating after an officer shot and killed a man during a traffic stop in southeast Houston early Wednesday.
According to Houston police, officers saw a driver in a pickup truck run a stop sign in the 3200 block of Drew around 12:40 a.m. Officers said a tail light was also out on the pickup truck, and officers attempted to pull the driver over, but he refused to stop.
Family identified the driver as 57-year-old John Allen.
When the driver, whom police described as a man in his mid- to late 50s, did pull over, two HPD officers approached the vehicle on both sides.
A man was behind the wheel, and a woman was sitting in the front passenger seat.
Police said the officers gave repeated demands for the driver to roll down his windows, but he ignored the commands.
Officer J. Hayes, who was on the passenger side, said he clearly saw the man reach into his pocket and pull out a gun.
Fearing for the safety of himself, his partner and the passenger, Hayes opened fire, police said.
The driver took off, then crashed into a tree at the intersection of Neddleton.
When officers approached the truck again, they realized he had been struck by gunfire.
Officers tried to provide medical assistance, but the man died at the scene.
No one else was injured. The female passenger was taken in for questioning.
Shanell Arterberry told Channel 2 there is a different a story.
"He had no gun," she told KPRC. "He was reaching for his ID and he say, ‘Don't move.' And he (Allen) said, "Let me get my ID, my wallet," and the police started shooting at him."
"This is not a man who is going to pull a gun on police, he's not going to pull a gun on a cop," said community activist Quannel X, who is calling for the FBI and the Texas Rangers to get Involved and conduct a more thorough investigation. He also alleges he found three shell casings at the scene of the shooting, hours after HPD left. Quannel said it proves the investigation by HPD is "shady."
Quannel and Arterberry admit Allen did a own a gun and if he had it with him it would have been in the bed of the pickup truck not in the cab, they said.
"They just started shooting," Quannel said. "All of this sounds suspicious to me."
A Houston Police Department spokesperson confirmed to KPRC that a gun was recovered at the scene and he said it was in the vehicle but wouldn't specify where.
"Did this man deserve to die?" Quannel asked. "Did he prove such a threat that deadly force was necessary?"
The president of the Houston Police Officer's Union, Ray Hunt, said statements made by the witness, Shanell Arterberry, are now putting officers in danger.
"It does put our officers in danger," Hunt told KPRC. "It clearly sends tensions up in that area. Tempers are flaring because they are believing what this liar said."
Arterberry made claims that Allen was not armed and that the officer shot him after he was already dead. Hunt said it's all lies and video from the officer's body camera will prove it. He hopes Police Chief Charles McClelland will release the video.
"This female gave a statement that night and I assure you that's going to be inconsistent with what she said today," he said.
Hunt also reiterated that Allen was armed and the gun was located inside the vehicle.
"We know there was a gun found in the vehicle," he said. "That gun was left in the vehicle and towed away until a warrant could be obtained."
The case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs divisions, as well as the Harris County District Attorney's Office.