New developments in Harding Street investigation: What happened
HOUSTON – KPRC 2 Investigates learned that two Houston Police Department officers were subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury on Wednesday and the Texas Rangers and members of the Harris County District Attorney's Office combed the Harding Street house for evidence for more than five hours.
The developments come nearly half a year after Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle were killed at the residence while Houston police were serving a drug warrant.
Officers called to grand jury
The officers who were called to present themselves to the grand jury responded to a 911 call on Jan. 8, about three weeks before the raid at the Harding Street home.
The call helped launch the investigation which culminated in the deadly shootout in which five officers were injured and Tuttle and Nicholas were killed.
The officers' testimony lasted about two to three hours on Wednesday.
No more testimony is scheduled for the immediate future, according to the Houston Police Officers Union, but a senior ranking officer is expected to testify in the coming weeks.
Investigators visit house
Investigators from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers worked outside and inside the house on Harding Street for several hours on Wednesday.
The presence of Rangers came nearly three months after they were initially offered access to the home at 7815 Harding Street by the families of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle.
The Rangers initially turned down an invitation to be at the home in early May to examine evidence collected by Michael Maloney, a private forensic investigator hired by the families.
KPRC 2 Investigates was there at that time and was also present Wednesday as the Rangers scanned the house with technology used to capture images and potential trajectory of bullets.
Michael Doyle, an attorney for the Nicholas family, had the following reaction to their presence: "They are doing their own schedule. We know that they are looking at all different avenues and so there had to be a reason I would expect why they decided the schedule appropriately. The Nicholas family, particularly John, who I spoke to was very, very encouraged that they were coming out to follow up on what’s already been found.”
Doyle also credited the findings of Maloney and his own team during the interview. The investigator extracted nearly 10 bullets in early May.
The District Attorney’s Office released the following statement to KPRC 2 Investigates on Wednesday afternoon, "Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigators and Texas Rangers were at the Harding Street residence today as part of an ongoing effort to learn all we can about every aspect of the incident that unfolded there. We continue our work and have no further comment at this time."
What happened on Jan. 28
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said officers raided the Harding Street residence in the Gloverdale neighborhood as part of a drug investigation. He said that when the officers entered the home, they were met by an aggressive dog, which was shot by one officer.
The chief said that Tuttle walked out of a backroom in the home and used a .357 revolver to start shooting at the officers, wounding one of them. Acevedo said that as the wounded officer fell on a living room couch, Nicholas tried to grab his weapon.
Officers returned fire, killing both Tuttle and Nicholas, Acevedo said.
Turmoil at HPD
Officer Gerald Goines, of HPD’s Narcotics Division, is accused of lying to obtain the search warrant that led to the raid. He was relieved of duty after the incident and could possibly be charged in connection with the deadly shootout.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg ordered the review of 1,400 cases connected to Goines after the botched raid.
Houston police Officer Steven Bryant filed to go into retirement after the incident. He is also under investigation.
Nearly 800 of Bryant's cases are under review by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Angel August was relieved of duty on March 13, but officials didn't provide much insight into the decision. August was relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
Authorities said August was one of the first members of the special investigations unit to be notified that four officers were shot and Tuttle and Nichols were killed.
August was also assigned to the Homicide Division.
Five Houston police officers were injured in the shootout. The last of the injured officers was released from the hospital on Tuesday. It's not clear which officer was released, but here is the list of officers who were injured in the shootout.
A timeline of the Harding Street investigation is below:
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