OFFICER DOWN: Sergeant Murdered, Officer and Son of Suspect also shot after domestic call
A Houston Police Sergeant is dead, in addition to another officer and the son of the suspect having sustained gunshot wounds in a shootout in south Houston this morning after attending a domestic disturbance call.
Officers received a call for a domestic disturbance at 8:15 am Houston time, arriving on scene to meet with the estranged partner of the suspect in the shooting. The female stating she wanted to remove items from the apartment. Chief Art Acevedo stated in a press conference that this was the third such call to the same residence over the weekend for HPD.
Acevedo stated that at 9:25 am, the female complainant’s 14-year-old son unlocked the door to the residence and entered to find the male suspect in the house armed with a gun. The suspect immediately opened fire on officers, striking officer Courtney Waller in the arm and striking Sergeant Harold Preston multiple times in the head and shoulder, in addition to the suspect’s son also receiving an injury to the arm from gunfire during the initial confrontation.
Officers then called for additional assistance from Houston Police SWAT and HPD aviation to assist on the scene.
At 9:31 am, officers were able to move Sergeant Preston away from the front door of the residence while the suspect remained armed inside the residence. HFD ambulance’s then rushed the injured to area hospitals, the suspect’s son to Houston Children’s Hospital, with Sergeant Preston and Officer Waller taken to Memorial Herman Hospital. Sergeant Preston was pronounced dead at the hospital, having sustained unsurvivable injuries in the shooting.
At 10:26 am, the suspect came outside surrendered, and was taken into custody after suffering a gunshot wound to the abdomen in the initial shootout.
Chief Acevedo paid tribute to Sergeant Preston, stating his great love for his family and for the people of the Houston Police Department where he served for 41 years. Sergeant Preston is survived by his mother and a 23-year-old daughter.
Although early in the case, Chief Acevedo stated that the suspect, Elmer Manzano, a 51-year-old Hispanic male with a long criminal history that includes previous domestic abuse cases would likely face murder charges in addition to other charges that will be forthcoming as the investigation continues.
Acevedo went on to condemn the murder of Sergeant Preston, just a week after the murder of fire investigator Lemuel Bruce, stating that the department would move forward with an honor guard as the body of Sergeant Preston was moved to the medical examiner’s office later today, while also planning a “celebration of a life of service” for Sergeant Preston.