HOUSTON – Two officers shot a man they thought was armed with a handgun Sunday in the Montrose area.
Police said the two officers shot the man, identified as Erick Michael Coonrod, who appeared to be armed in the 1100 block of West Alabama and Yoakum.
The officers were identified as J. Baldwin and R. Naughton, both three-year veterans of the Houston Police Department.
The officers said they were called to the scene in reference to a man waving a handgun in the air.
The officers said that when they approached Coonrod, he refused to say anything.
Police said Coonrod, 27, stared at them and refused to follow orders or put his hands up, then reached for a gun inside his waistband and pointed it at the officers, who opened fire.
“For reasons unknown, the suspect disregards any of those commands, never says a word, goes to reach into his waistband to pull that gun out,” Houston officer John Cannon said. “That’s when the officers discharged their duty weapons.”
Police said the weapon was a pellet gun styled after the Berreta 92 handgun, but they said officers couldn’t have known that.
“Most of the public will look around and say, 'Oh, he got shot over a toy gun.' I think when they take a look that they'll understand what these officers were up against," Cannon said.
Surveillance cameras at the Star Stop caught police responding to the call.
On the video, you can see police hurrying to the shooting scene on West Alabama near Yoakum.
The sound of gunshots apparently scared a customer getting gas. You could see him ducking behind a car.
On Sunday, Houston Police Spokesman John Cannon said, “For reasons unknown, the suspect disregards any of those commands, never says a word, goes to reach into his waistband to pull that gun out and at that time, that's when the officers discharged their duty weapons."
In a statement released today, police said Coonrod pulled out the pellet gun and pointed it in the direction of officers.
Investigators are not saying how many times the suspect was shot, only that it was more than once.
Coonrod was taken to Ben Taub Hospital and is listed in critical but stable condition. No officers were injured.
Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen said the officers were in the right.
"I feel terrible. It's always a shame when a citizen is shot, but from what I understand, this gentlemen was asked to raise his hands and had a gun in his belt,” Cohen said. ”The police did what they had to do.”
Police said more an one of the officers involved was wearing a body camera that recorded the shooting. A spokesman said the video is part of the investigation and not being released.
HPD's Homicide and internal affairs divisions, as well as the Harris County District Attorney's Office, are investigating.
Anyone with further information about the incident is asked to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.