During a news conference Tuesday, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner and other law enforcement leaders released bodycam footage related to the September 20 shooting that killed one police officer and wounded another.
“Transparency is transparency and when we said we would release body worn camera footage in all officer-involved shootings, that’s what we meant,” Finner said during the news conference.
The bodycam footage released by HPD shows a suspect fatally shooting one officer and wounding another as well as officers fatally shooting the suspect. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.
On Monday, Sept. 20, Senior Officer William “Bill” Jeffrey was killed and another officer, Sgt. Michael Vance, was wounded while trying to arrest a man on drug charges in northeast Harris County.
Deon Ledet , the 31-year-old man whom the officers were attempting to arrest on drug charges, was also killed in the shooting.
Jeffrey was pronounced dead at a hospital following the shooting. Sgt. Charles Vance was transported in serious but stable condition and was released from the hospital several days later.
Jeffrey joined the Houston Police Department in 1990. He was 54. Vance joined the department in 1998. Vance is 49.
At about 7:30 a.m., multiple officers arrived at an apartment complex at 5350 Aeropark Drive to serve a felony arrest warrant for Ledet. In a video presentation narrated by Belinda Null, assistant chief of the Houston Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Command, Null states Officer Johnson knocked on the door to Ledet’s residence and a woman answered.
Officer Johnson stated the officers had and arrest warrant for Ledet and asked if he was inside the residence. Officer Johnson is heard saying “Ma’am, where’s Deon? Is he awake? Deon, step out here.”
Officers then asked the woman to step outside.
The officers remained at the front door and called out for Deon while periodically identifying themselves as police.
One officer is heard asking the woman if there are any firearms in the house, to which she replies “Yeah.” The officer is heard saying “S**t.”
“Let me just tell him to come on out,” the woman is heard saying.
Moments later, Ledet opens fire, striking officers Jeffrey and Vance. Officers returned fire and sought cover. Ledet was fatally shot and succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
During the Tuesday news conference, officials said the firearm Ledet used in the shooting had been retrofitted with a contraband device that converted the pistol into a fully automatic weapon.
“There’s absolutely no reason and no room for our suspects to be armed like this,” Finner said. “And we need to do everything we can do . . . It’s going to take everybody. This is a threat that is here and it’s a threat to everybody -- law enforcement and citizens and everyone in our community.”
The Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives has investigated seven cases involving the contraband switch devices in the area over the past year. ATF Special Agent Fred Milanowski described Houston city proper as the region’s “Ground Zero” for the devices.
“By far, we’re seeing the most of these devices in the city of Houston,” Milanowski said.
“This is what we’re up against and we need to do something about it,” Finner said.
Anyone who sees a contraband switch device in the Houston area is urged to report it to the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives at 888-283-8477.
The Sept. 20 shooting on Aeropark Drive remains under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.