80-year-old woman stabbed to death at Walgreens; suspect killed by HPD

HOUSTON – A stabbing suspect was killed in an officer-involved shooting in Houston late Saturday morning.

At 9:55 a.m., the Houston Police Department received a call of a suspicious person outside a Fiesta Mart near 8600 South Braeswood Boulevard. The suspect was soliciting customers for money and threatening them with a knife, Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a news briefing Saturday afternoon.

Houston police were on scene within six minutes of the call, Acevedo said. By 10:11 a.m., the responding officer had conducted a search of the area and failed to locate the suspect.

Soon after, employees at a nearby Walgreens noticed a man, who matched the description of the suspect near the Fiest Mart, lingering outside. As a woman approximately 80 years of age exited Walgreens and walked back to her car, the 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.

TIMELINE: A breakdown of the 5 officer-involved shootings that have occurred in Houston in less than a month

Remembering Mama Rose

Two of Cook’s children were seen comforting one another at the scene. They said their mother leaves behind four children and six grandchildren.

“I got a message from her yesterday, and I want to keep it," said a family friend Oscar Lara. “She’s so sweet. She always takes care of everybody.”

Lara has lived next door to Cook for 14 years. He described her as Mama Rose.

“The cookies… nobody makes cookies like her," he said.

He said he didn’t think the last time he’d see her was when he waved at her as she pulled out of the driveway.

“To be honest, I don’t believe it. I was thinking, maybe it was someone else," he said.

What’s next from HPD

The officer involved in the shooting was wearing a body cam at the time of the incident. Acevedo said he’s reviewed the footage and has also reviewed Walgreens security footage of the incident.

“What was found, makes me angry, is this suspect didn’t just stab an 80-year-old woman,” Acevedo said. "He then goes down and starts rifling through her stuff and then tries to steal her car.”

Acevedo said witnesses at the scene told investigators that the officer had no choice as “the guy came right at him with the knife.”

“This is tragic,” Acevedo said, “But the most tragedy here is a woman who has died from a guy who attacked her for no reason other than to steal from her and carjack her.”

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.

This shooting marks the fifth officer-involved shooting in the city of Houston in under a month.

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: HPD Chief Art Acevedo offers an update on Saturday’s officer-involved shooting

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.