Outgoing HPD Chief’s Message to Houston: ‘Get ready for 500 murders’

Chief Acevedo twice states the city looking at another huge year for homicides

On Tuesday, chief Art Acevedo answered some tough questions about leaving Houston as crime is on the rise.

HOUSTON, Texas – HPD Chief Art Acevedo made a grim proclamation for the City of Houston on Tuesday, “Get ready for 500 murders,” said Acevedo during an afternoon news conference at HPD headquarters.

Acevedo admitting his strategy to combat homicides in Houston is not working, resulting in another record year for killings, “Get ready for 500 murders at the rate this is going.”

When reminded by KPRC 2 Investigates Mario Diaz that the rise in homicides is happening under his watch, Acevedo said, “Ok, it’s under my watch, Mario and I’ll be gone, and bring in the best chief, bring in any chief .. but I’ve got a prediction.” Perplexed by his response, Channel 2 Investigates asked Acevedo, “But Miami says you’re the best Chief?” The question was the result of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s statement on Monday, “I think this is like getting the Tom Brady or Michael Jordan of police chiefs.”

Acevedo’s response?

“You know Mario, I’m done with you. Actually, I’m done with you for my lifetime. Thank God.”

Acevedo was in no mood to address tough questions regarding skyrocketing homicides during his tenure. Houston has seen a meteoric rise of over 500 since the start of 2020, with some wondering if Acevedo’s departure to the much smaller city of Miami is simply a cut and run by the chief.

“Let me tell you something. First of all, crimefighting is not the issue,” Acevedo said.

Acevedo then blamed the revolving door on the Harris County justice system for nearly two minutes, blaming judges for the homicides, stating they are not working hard enough and putting criminals back on the streets.

This said, there are two homicides from Acevedo’s tenure that stand out the most. They are the shooting deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas by HPD in the deadly botched raid on Harding Street.

When asked how challenging will it be for Acevedo to leave Houston knowing that Harding Street remains unfinished? Acevedo said, “I’ll be back for Harding Street because it happened on my watch.”

Watch the video below to hear John Nicholas, brother of Rhogena Nicholas, speak about Acevedo’s departure.

KPRC 2 Investigates speaks with John Nicholas about Art Acevedo deciding to leave at such a vital moment in Houston