5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, June 24

A section of the border fence in the Rio Grande Valley.
A section of the border fence in the Rio Grande Valley.

Here are things to know for Thursday, June 24:

1. Texas border wall project receives over $450K in donations, a week after Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans

Over the span of about a week, Texas received $459,000 in private donations for the state’s planned wall at the southern border, the governor’s office said Wednesday.

This comes after Gov. Greg Abbott said he would reallocate $250 million in state funds as a “down payment” for the project — while crowdfunding some of the remaining costs.

The identities of the donors and how much they donated to the wall construction are not readily available and can only be obtained through public information requests, a spokesperson for Abbott said. Eventually, Abbott’s office said, the total donations figure will be available online on a website that currently solicits people to donate.

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2. Vice President Harris to visit US-Mexico border area regarding migration

Vice President Kamala Harris will make her first visit on Friday to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office, following criticism from members of both parties for failing to go earlier despite her role leading the Biden administration’s response to a steep increase in migration.

Harris will visit the El Paso area, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to a statement Wednesday from Harris senior adviser Symone Sanders.

Harris has faced months of criticism from Republicans, and even some frustration from those in her own party, for not visiting the area.

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3. 2 former HPD officers involved in Harding Street raid indicted for engaging in organized crime

Former Houston Police officers Gerald Goines and Felipe Gallegos were indicted Wednesday for engaging in organized criminal activity, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators said the two former HPD officers are accused of a “long-running overtime theft scheme” that was uncovered following the deadly Harding Street raid in 2019. While officers were executing a no-knock search warrant, gunfire rang out, and Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle were shot and killed.

Officials said Goines used bogus information to get the warrant that led to the raid. He is currently charged with felony murder for lying to a judge.

Gallegos was also charged with murder for his role in the raid. But he claims he was defending himself and fellow officers by returning fire.

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4. Man impersonating police officer attempted to pull 2 drivers over in Waller County, deputies say

Waller County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man possibly responsible for two incidents of police impersonation.

The first incident happened Saturday night on Joseph Road near FM 1488.

Sheriff Troy Guidry said a woman driving in the area reported seeing a dark grey or black Dodge Charger passing her going the opposite direction. The woman reported she thought it was a deputy on their way to a call because the car had red and blue flashing lights activated.

“His lights were on when he passed her and he did a U-turn and came back up behind her,” said Guidry.

Guidry said, thinking it was a deputy, the woman pulled over. The driver of the other car quickly jumped out and approached her.

“(The driver) pulled a gun on her, told her to get out of the car in a pretty threatening manner,” said Guidry.

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5. Mother warns others about kitchen safety after spilling cooking oil, suffering from 3rd-degree burns

As a mother and an avid cook, Clarissa Montgomery has made tortilla chips countless times, but while in the kitchen just over a week ago, she suffered a very serious accident. Now, the mother is healing at Memorial Hermann’s burn unit and sending a strong message to others from her hospital bed.

“It was and continues to be very, very painful,” Montgomery said.

Back on June 14, a routine trip to the kitchen to fry tortilla chips left the wife and mother of two in excruciating pain. Montgomery now has second and third-degree burns covering 30% of her body.

“They’re all over the backside and on both sides of my legs. Pretty extensive,” Montgomery said.

The elementary school teacher was on her last batch for the night, when she said she made a major mistake by not scooping the chips away from her. A simple move that would change her life forever.

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