A 41-year veteran of the Houston police force died on Tuesday after being shot multiple times in the head while another officer who was also shot during the same incident was being treated in the hospital, the city’s police chief said.
Police Chief Art Acevedo said Elmer Manzano, a 51-year old Hispanic male, fired at officers responding to a disturbance call at an apartment in southwest Houston, wounding Officer Courtney Waller and killing Sergeant Harold Preston.
Waller has three years on the force while Preston, 65, served the city for 41 years, Acevedo said.
“Unfortunately his wounds were not survivable. He was shot more than once in the head, and also received a gunshot through the shoulder area that embedded in his spine,” Acevedo told a briefing outside Memorial Hermann Hospital where Preston died.
Waller was shot in the arm and is in stable condition, while Manzano took a bullet to the abdomen but is expected to survive, Acevedo said. Manzano’s 14-year old son was also shot during the gunfire but is expected to recover, Acevedo said.
The officers were dispatched to the apartment to help a woman who said she was trying to move out but that her estranged husband – Manzano – would not allow her to collect her things. She was outside the apartment with the 14-year old son.
When the son opened the door to the apartment, he alerted the officers that Manzano was armed. Manzano then shot multiple rounds at the officers, who returned fire, Acevedo said.
Manzano surrendered about an hour later, Acevedo said.
“Our hearts are with the family of Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston who was shot and killed in the line of duty this morning,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Twitter. “This tragic loss is a grave reminder of the dangers our brave law enforcement officers face while keeping our communities safe.”