HOUSTON – There have been five officer-involved shootings in the city of Houston in under a month with the latest one on Saturday morning.
The Houston Police Department has come under fire recently from advocacy groups calling for transparency on how the officer-involved shootings are being handled.
Here’s a timeline and breakdown of the cases:
Houston police responded to the 600 block of Gazin Street to reports of a man possibly trying to commit suicide. When officers arrived at the scene, it took a few minutes to locate the man, later identified as 27-year-old Nicolas Chavez. The Harris County Precinct 6 Constable’s Office assisted HPD officers in the response.
HPD said Chavez refused to comply with orders and tried to stab himself. HPD officers and Harris County deputies deployed tasers and bean bags — both of which were ineffective. Acevedo said Chavez continued to not comply with commands and an HPD officer fired his gun at him. He was killed.
Chavez’s mother told police her son just recently got out of jail and was dealing with emotional issues, Acevedo said.
The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice is calling for transparency after a civilian video of the deadly encounter circulated on social media. The video showed Chavez on his knees, lunging at officers before he was tasered and then fatally shot.
Houston Police responded to the 7900 block of Chadwick Street at about 12:45 a.m., after receiving reports that a man was firing his weapon in front of a home.
Police said the suspect called to the officers and said, “I’m waiting for you” while reloading his gun.
Once the suspect was located, he was found firing shots around the residence, officers said. An officer said they believed that the suspect pointed a gun at him. They fired shots and killed the suspect.
Police said the suspect’s stepfather was inside of the residence when the shooting occurred. He told officers that his stepson was either drunk or on drugs.
A Houston police officer pulled a man over near 11796 North Freeway and North Sam Houston Parkway at around 1:15 a.m. Officials said the man was driving at 90 mph. The officer believed the man was driving while intoxicated.
Police said after the officer conducted sobriety tests, police tried to put the suspect, later identified as 48-year-old Adrian Medearis, in custody but a violent struggle ensued.
The officer tried to pull out a Taser, but the suspect was able to retrieve it, officials said. The officer then discharged his weapon and began firing it, hitting the suspect twice. The suspect was transported to a hospital where he later died.
According to police, the officer’s body camera was knocked off during the incident, but it was still recording.
Later, officials said dashcam and bodycam footage would only be shown to Medearis’ family and will not be released to the public.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said police responded to the intersection of Scott and Noah streets 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 the 30-year-old African American man 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 drew a taser and ordered the other people to move away and they complied.
Acevedo said the suspect refused to comply and for four minutes, the officer tried to get him to comply but he would not. 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.
Acevedo said the suspect’s sister told police that he was drunk and left her house saying he was going to go home.
A stabbing suspect was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Houston late Saturday morning.
The incident happened at a Walgreens near 8600 South Braeswood Boulevard.
As a woman approximately 80 years of age exited Walgreens and walked back to her car, a man stabbed the woman in the chest, Acevedo said.
The suspect entered the woman’s car and attempted to start it. Witnesses flagged down an officer nearby. The officer exited his patrol car and ordered the suspect, still armed with a blade, to exit the car. After about 15 seconds, the suspect exited the car and pointed the knife toward the officer, Acevedo said. The officer discharged two rounds, striking the suspect.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene by the Houston Fire Department.
The woman, identified as Rosalie Cook, was transported to Memorial Hermann where she later died of her injuries.
Acevedo said witnesses at the scene told investigators that the officer had no choice as “the guy came right at him with the knife.”
Acevedo said the officer involved in the incident is a 9-year veteran of the force with no prior involvement in an officer-involved shooting.
The Special Investigations Unit will conduct a criminal investigation into the use of deadly force by the officer and they will also handle the murder investigation of the woman.
What Acevedo is saying about the shootings
While giving a briefing Thursday, Acevedo insisted that officer-involved shootings were actually on the downturn.
“You that what goes on in cities that people will count — there’s been one officer-involved shooting, five officer-involved shootings,” Acevedo said. “The truth of the matter is officer-involved shootings have been cut significantly due to the excellence of the training that we have here in the city.”
He went on to say that “at the end of the day, it’s not the number of shootings that we look at. It is the objective reasonableness, the evidence and the appropriateness of the use of force — whether it’s deadly force or lesser than deadly force. That’s what our charge is as a police department. We will investigate this as we always do and we will come back and report the findings.”