Suspected gunman charged after Houston sergeant killed, another injured officer remains in the hospital


HOUSTON (KXAN) — Prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against the man suspected of killing a Houston police sergeant, injuring another officer and shooting his own son.

During a news conference late Wednesday afternoon, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the district attorney filed charges of capital murder, attempted capital murder and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury against Elmer Manzano, 51.

“This is a very evil person,” Acevedo said about the suspect. “We need to pursue every avenue of justice.”

The shooting happened Tuesday morning when officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex in southwest Houston. Police said Manzano allegedly started firing a semiautomatic pistol when his 14-year-old son opened the apartment door. Bullets hit and injured Manzano’s son as well as Officer Courtney Waller. Sgt. Harold Preston died after being hit several times.

Officer Courtney Waller (Houston Police Photo)
Officer Courtney Waller (Houston Police Photo)

Acevedo told reporters Wednesday Waller remains hospitalized in stable condition. He said he also met with Waller, whose arm injury will require additional surgery Thursday. The 14-year-old boy is still hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries, Acevedo said.

The police chief shared Manzano remains in the hospital under police supervision after he suffered a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. Acevedo said police believe Sgt. Preston returned fire Tuesday and hit Manzano once. The suspect ultimately surrendered to police after barricading himself inside the apartment for a time on Tuesday.

The shooting and the events leading up to it are now under investigation by the Houston Police Department’s special investigations unit, internal affairs and the district attorney’s office.

Acevedo said he will meet Wednesday evening with the Preston family to discuss funeral arrangements, which should be shared publicly later this week.

The police chief called Sgt. Preston a “fallen hero,” noting he served for 41 years with the Houston Police Department and planned to retire in two weeks. He said Preston had already bought a motorcycle to ride during his retirement.

Sgt. Harold Preston was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in southwest Houston (Houston Police Officers' Union Photo)
Sgt. Harold Preston was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in southwest Houston (Houston Police Officers’ Union Photo)

Acevedo took time during his news conference to thank the community for showing love and support not just to the affected officers’ families, but also to all of the mourning police officers within the Houston Police Department.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Central Texas COVID-19 Cases

More Coronavirus Live Blogs

Trending Stories

Don't Miss