HOUSTON – The Houston police investigation of a fatal shooting by an FBI agent during a raid to rescue a kidnapping victim does not support the agent’s account of how the shooting happened, Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday.
Investigators said Ulises Valladares, 47, was shot and killed Jan. 25 by an FBI agent while authorities were storming a house where he was being kept by kidnappers.
After the shooting, Acevedo said that the agent who fired the fatal shots said that Valladares grabbed the agent’s gun after the agent used it to break a window at the home.
"He stated, at the time, an unknown person from inside of the room grabbed his weapon by the barrel and began pulling it away from him," Acevedo said during a news conference Wednesday.
The agent said he fired when he felt he was about to lose control of the weapon, Acevedo said.
Valladares was found dead by another team entering a different side of the house.
"His hands were bound very tightly, probably halfway towards the wrist and halfway towards the palm," Acevedo said.
Acevedo said his department’s investigation of the shooting does not support what the agent said happened. He said he will not provide any details about the conclusion of the investigation because a federal investigation of the shooting is underway.
"I will not be putting into the public record precisely what happened or how the sequence of events differ from what was told to our investigators or to the investigators by the agent who discharged the two rounds," Acevedo said.
Acevedo said the U.S. attorney for the Houston area has recused himself from the investigation since his office works closely with the FBI. The investigation has been turned over to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Antonio and the inspector general of the Department of Justice, Acevedo said.
Acevedo said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has told him that she is letting the federal investigation proceed before deciding whether to present the case to a local grand jury.
Sophia Heath, Jimmy Sanchez and Nicolas Cunningham have been charged in connection with Valladares’ kidnapping. They are awaiting trial.