PD: Man shot, killed after police standoff in SE Houston

By Brandon Walker - Reporter, Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor, Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A man was shot and killed Wednesday morning after a police standoff in southeast Houston, HPD homicide investigators said.

The Harris County Medical Examiner said his name was Edelmiro Hernandez.

An officer on routine patrol was driving by 950 FM 1959, an apartment complex known to have recent issues with car burglaries. Police said the only description they had of the burglar was that he was a Hispanic male driving a Ford Expedition. The officer spotted a Ford Expedition driven by a Hispanic male leaving the apartment complex and noticed the suspect look in his direction a few times and then drive off.  

The man led police on a chase, until his SUV hit a curb and became disabled on South Green at Fuqua. Mandy Williams was there as two Houston police officers shot and killed a suspected armed car burglar after a 20-minute standoff with police.

"They had guns drawn, and they were telling him, ‘Get out of the car! Get out of the car! Get out of the car!'" said Williams.

Investigators said the man was inside a dark-colored Ford Expedition and refused to get out.

Officers said they spent a lengthy period of time issuing verbal commands in English and Spanish to the man, trying to deescalate the situation and take him into custody. 

Police sent in a K-9 named Jake and his handler.

Officers said the man was armed with a knife with a blade between 8 to 10 inches long. They said he tried to hurt the dog, who had him by the leg.

Two officers approached the vehicle and fired multiple shots, killing the man.

"If it wasn't for the actions of these two officers discharging their weapons, we would have a very serious injury, probably to one of our officers and our dog, Jake," said John Cannon of Houston police.

Police recovered stolen car stereo equipment, speakers, tires and rims from the accused car burglar's SUV. 

The pursuit began after an on duty patrol officer saw the SUV and started following it. The driver stopped near the 12700 block of Featherwood in southeast Houston before getting into a standoff with police.

"They stood here for a while trying to get him out of the car," said Williams. "(They were) trying to get him to do what was right."

The first officer involved in the shooting was Senior Police Officer P. Steffenauer, assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. He was sworn in as an officer in October 1991. The other officer, Senior Police Officer B. Kohlhafer, is assigned to the Clear Lake Patrol Division and was sworn in as an officer in June 1990. Both officers are on paid administrative leave for up to three days.

The incident is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs divisions, and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

Police said just before to the standoff, citizens in the area of the apartment complex on FM 1959 reported two car burglaries. 

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