'They all should have done their homework': Neighbor of shootout victims on HPD

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter, Cory McCord - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Neighbors of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas have been very vocal about the fact that they believed something was off about last month's shootout that left the couple dead and four Houston police officers shot.

One neighbor said she is confident the truth will come out, and according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, new details are already starting to emerge about the validity of the search warrant the Houston Police Department was serving at the home of Tuttle and Nicholas on Jan. 28.

Sarah Sanchez, their neighbor, said it's hard to pass by the couple's home on Harding Street.

Timeline: Harding Street raid-turned-shootout

"It's unbelievable. It's horrible. You just want to wake up (and think) it's a dream, but it's not happening," Sanchez said.

She said she knew the family and even texted Nicholas about the shooting the day it happened, not knowing her friend had been killed. She said she is not happy with the way her neighbors were portrayed by police.

"Because we all know they're not the drug dealers, we all know they're not bad people and we all know that they don't hate cops," Sanchez said.

On Friday, Acevedo said a narcotics officer is accused of lying in the affidavit that led to the raid and shootout, which left Tuttle and Nicholas dead.

Sanchez was upset to hear the developments in the case.

"We cried. We cried because they were killed for no reason," Sanchez said.

Acevedo said one of his officers will be charged with a serious crime at some point. He also insisted that the community would learn "the good, the bad and the ugly" details about the investigation.

On Feb. 7, a narcotics officer was relieved of duty, the Police Department said. That officer was not named, but police said he was connected to the case.

Sanchez says she questions the system and yearns for justice for her friends.

"It takes me to a whole different level about cops. I know just because there's one sour apple in the bunch doesn't mean they're all sour, but at the same time, it's not just one man ... saying, 'Hey, go do this.' They all should have done their homework," Sanchez said.

The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice is planning a town hall meeting on Monday to discuss no-knock warrants -- the kind of warrant that was being served at the couple's home. The group said the meeting is open to the public, and they invited Acevedo, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

The new revelations had everyone talking -- including two mayoral candidates.

Candidate Tony Buzbee said in a statement, "If someone screwed up, they must be held accountable. But I would hope that, in the event there was a mistake, we not paint our entire police force with a broad brush or jump to conclusions about our police."

Bill King, who is also running for mayor, is one of those calling for an outside investigation.

"At this point in time, I don't think there's any question. Nobody's going to have any confidence in this investigation if we don't have a third party do it," King said.

Acevedo stood firm on his stance that he will not ask for outside help and believes his unit will uncover the truth.

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