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‘On the table’: DA mulls whether to seek death penalty against suspect in HPD sergeant’s slaying

Federal charges filed against shooting suspect

Channel 2 Investigates has learned the name of the suspect accused of shooting two HPD officers is Elmer Manzano.
Channel 2 Investigates has learned the name of the suspect accused of shooting two HPD officers is Elmer Manzano. (KPRC 2)

HOUSTON – Several charges have been filed against a man accused of killing a Houston police sergeant and injuring another officer in Tuesday’s shooting.

Elmer Manzano, 51, was charged with capital murder of a police officer, attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated assault with bodily injury on Wednesday.

Federal charges against Manzano, a Salvadoran national who is undocumented, has been filed for “being an alien in possession of a firearm,” according to U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick. He said more charges could be added as the investigation continues.

According to John Donnelly with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the DA has not committed to seeking the death penalty but that it’s “on the table.” Donnelly said it’s still very early in the process.

READ: Elmer Manzano: What we know about the man accused of killing 1 HPD officer, wounding another

The incident started as a disturbance call about a domestic violence situation where responding officers were called to an apartment building in the 2600 block of Holly Hall near El Rio.

The responding officers, 3-year veteran Officer Courtney Waller, 41-year veteran Sgt. Harold Preston and a 5-year veteran officer arrived at the scene and met Manzano’sestranged wife, who had called police.

Police said she was moving out and wanted to get some items from the apartment but the door was locked. Police said when Manzano’s 14-year-old son unlocked the apartment’s door, Manzano then fired several rounds at the officers.

READ: 41-year veteran HPD Officer Sgt. Harold Preston dies in shooting near NRG, officials say

Police said Waller was shot in the arm and Preston was struck multiple times in the head.

Waller and Preston were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The suspect’s son was also struck in the arm and taken to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Preston was surrounded by family when he died at the hospital Tuesday, HPD Chief Art Acevedo said.

Police said Manzano was taken into custody and hospitalized at Ben Taub after he was shot in the stomach by Sgt. Preston during the exchange of gunfire. Manzano is being watched by officers as he recovers from his injuries at a hospital, Acevedo said.

READ: Documents: Charges not pursued after incidents involving man accused of killing HPD sergeant

KPRC 2 Investigates also obtained an incident report from a Sunday call that was filed by the Houston police officer who responded to the scene of a “disturbance.”


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