Grand jury makes ‘unprecedented’ visit to the site of deadly Harding Street raid

KPRC 2 has learned a grand jury has visited the Harding Street site where a deadly shootout with Houston police happened in January 2019.

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 has learned a grand jury has visited the Harding Street site, where a deadly shootout with Houston Police Department happened in January 2019.

Law enforcement officers set up a tent and crime scene tape at the home Wednesday. KPRC 2 saw Harris County Constable Precinct 1 deputies and representatives from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office at the home.

Transported via shuttle, the grand jury was taken inside the home for approximately a 20-minute tour.

A botched January raid at a home on Harding Street led to a months’ long investigation and three people charged in connection with the deaths of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle.

Two former HPD officers -- Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant -- and the neighbor who called 911, Patricia Garcia, are all accused of federal crimes. Goines and Bryant also face state charges.

Wednesday’s tour raised many eyebrows since grand juries routinely operate secretly and tours of sites are far from normal, according to KPRC 2 Legal Brian Wice, who added, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, an in-person visit is worth 10,000.”

Wice described today’s tour simply as, “unprecedented.” He also said they were doing their job.

“The code of criminal procedure gives those 12 folks the right to inquire, which is a fancy legal term to investigate, into any offense or offenses liable to indictment,” Wice said.

District Attorney Kim Ogg did not go into specifics of today’s visit but told Channel 2 Investigates, “we have not had any carryover grand juries related to the Goines or Bryant cases.”

Ogg also revealed the Harding Street investigation is being divided into phases as a result of its robust scope.

“This case is so complex, it involves multiple targets, multiple victims, and spans a period of years, we are having to take it in phases not just as an investigation but in terms of our grand jury interaction,” she said.

HPD Chief Art Acevedo told Channel 2 Investigates via text: “We appreciate the work of the Grand Jury and the Houston Police Department Special Investigations Unit, and our partners, who helped get us to this point.”

Families react to grand jury visit

“Our family is very thankful that the process is moving forward," said Cliff Tuttle, the uncle of Dennis Tuttle. “We were happy to make the house available for the Grand Jury and the District Attorney’s office today and will continue to do everything we can, for as long as it takes, to seek justice for Dennis and his wife.”

“The Nicholas family knows the investigation must continue to fully expose the actions of all the persons involved in the Harding Street fiasco, including in its aftermath," Michael Doyle, the attorney for the family of Rhogena Nicholas, told Channel 2 Investigates. "That the grand jury is given an opportunity to see Rhogena and Dennis’ home is welcome news, but we also know that an independent forensic evaluation of the Harding Street incident is vitally necessary.”

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.