HOUSTON – A suspect was killed Thursday in an officer-involved shooting in southeast Houston, according to the Houston Police Department.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said police responded to the intersection of Scott Street and Noah Street at about 6:24 p.m. after receiving reports of a suspicious person brandishing a firearm.
An officer arrived at the scene within four minutes and talked to 30-year-old Rayshard Scales, who had what was believed to a semi-automatic tucked in his waistband, Acevedo said. The suspect was sitting on a bench flanked by two other people, Acevedo said.
The officer took cover behind his police car and armed with a taser, told the other people to move away and they complied, Acevedo said.
“The suspect, unidentified at this time, immediately refused to comply to multiple commands from our officer,” Acevedo said. The officer then switched to his service pistol.
“This individual, rather than complying with this officer’s lawful commands, continued to advance on the officer, forcing the officer on multiple occasions to back up away from the suspect around the police car,” Acevedo said.
The officer tried for four minutes to get the suspect to comply with his commands to no avail while continuing to call for backup, Acevedo said. During that time, Acevedo said the suspect called the officer the N-word multiple times and challenged him.
Just as backup units were arriving, the suspect made a motion to grab his gun from his waistband and that’s when the officer fired his weapon several times at the suspect and struck him, Acevedo said.
Medics with the Houston Fire Department immediately began treating the suspect for his injury and then transported him to Ben Taub hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Acevedo said the suspect’s sister told police that he was drunk and left her house saying he was going to go home.
A witness claimed to local media that the suspect had his hands up when he was shot by the officer. When asked about this, Acevedo vehemently denied this claim.
“There are a lot of people who would like to see this city burn by lying,” he said. “That’s a lie. It’s on video. If that man has hands up, I will find another job."
No officers were injured in the incident.
“He was a fun person, he was a fun person to be around. He loved family and he loved hanging out with his family. He’s not a bad dude at all. He’s family-oriented,” Scales’ cousin Zelmaca Mitchell said.
Mitchell told KPRC 2 that she has some questions about how everything played out.
“From what I’m hearing, it doesn’t sound like my cousin at all," Mitchell said. “It doesn’t sound like him to be carrying a gun in his waistband. It doesn’t sound like he would charge any officer, which he would not. He would comply with the officers.”
Nikia Emmitt said she was talking on the phone with Scales, her boyfriend, when she heard the gunshots.
“I kept calling his name trying to get him to answer me,” Emmitt said.
Emmitt said that she and Scales had an argument on the phone and she regrets that she didn’t get to say goodbye to him. She told KPRC 2 that she would like to see the bodycam footage of the incident.
“He’s not known to carry a gun, he don’t own a gun,” said Emmitt. “I don’t feel that it was right that they shot him.”
The African American officer who fired his weapon in this incident has been with the Houston Police Department for two years, Acevedo said. He will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation as is protocol.
There have been four officer-involved shootings in the city of Houston in little over three weeks with this being the latest one.
The Houston Police Department has come under fire recently from advocacy groups calling for transparency on how the officer-involved shootings are being handled.
Watch Acevedo’s full press conference below: