Dramatic chase ends with deadly shooting

April 30, 2008 3:25:03 AM PDT
A high speed police chase turned into a fatal shooting Tuesday. Officers say they were threatened, so they used deadly force. That chase started on the South Freeway and Orem, went along four major freeways and ended near the Galleria. It came to an end on the West Loop near Woodway, with deliberate and deadly force by two officers that will be repeatedly scrutinized.

We know two veteran officers were involved in this fatal shooting, one a sergeant. We also know police found no weapons in their first search of the driver's SUV. However, during a second search, they found two pistols and a shotgun. And one, they say, was within the driver's reach.

Houston police have still not identified the driver. We do know he is 52 years old. He was stopped initially for speeding on 288. Police say he does have a concealed weapons license. Homicide, internal affairs and district attorney investigators are all now looking into case.

Houston police say the driver of the black Jeep took off during a traffic stop. The pursuit reached speeds of up to 120 miles per hour and lasted 50 minutes until Houston traffic brought the driver to a halt.

SkyEye HD showed two officers, A.J. Washington and C.A. Foster, communicating with him. They say he refused to exit. Foster broke a window. Washington, with his gun drawn, moved around to the driver's side. That's when he fired. Foster fires, too.

The two officers told investigators the driver acted in a way that made them fear for their lives.

"When the suspect exited the driver's door, stepped out, turned around and reached underneath the drivers seat, grabbed something they described as shiny and turned toward the officers," said Sgt. John Chomiak with the Houston Police Department

The driver was shot twice, then handcuffed face down on the pavement. Nearly 12 minutes later, an ambulance arrived with medical personnel giving the man his first treatment since the shooting. He was taken to the hospital, but his wounds were fatal.

Investigators are questioning the officers. They will also examine dash cam video from at least two patrol cars to try to piece together why the two officers feared for their lives as three others with better aim never moved.

"The officers observed him make an overt movement, grabbed something shiny and fearing for his safety, did discharge their firearm once each," said Sgt. Sgt. Chomiak.

The two officers who fired their weapons are on administrative leave. That's standard procedure after any deadly shooting.

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