No indictment for officers in 'CIA' shooting

July 24, 2008 9:42:46 PM PDT
A local grand jury has made its decision whether to indict two Houston police officers in connection with a fatal shooting of a self-proclaimed CIA agent a few months back. Today a grand jury chose not to indict Sgt. Andrew Washington and Officer Cecil Foster. So they're done in criminal court, but still face a civil lawsuit and an ongoing HPD Internal Affairs investigation. And that's about the only thing that's really clear about this bizarre case.

Almost three months to the day after this deadly shooting along the West Loop, we know the two officers who fired their guns have been cleared by a grand jury, but we are no closer to knowing why Roland Carnaby gave chase in the first place.

Alan Helfman was one of Carnaby's good friends. In fact he sold him the Jeep SUV he was driving the day he refused to stop for police. For years Helfman believed Carnaby was a CIA agent.

He now admits to being conned.

"He was good at what he did he was really good," he said. "I'm 99% percent sure that was all fabricated."

In April, Carnaby was stopped for speeding on 288, but fled after showing an ID card he said came from the CIA. Traffic eventually stopped the high speed chase in the Galleria area. And within minutes Carnaby was dead. Sgt. Andrew Washington and Officer Cecil Foster rushed the vehicle, bashed out the window and fired fearing for their lives after Carnaby reached for a shiny object that turned out to be a cell phone.

His wife is suing the city saying HPD's policies are bad. Her attorney believes the grand jury's decision helps her lawsuit.

"The no bill in my mind lends credence to the fact they were following the city's policies and practices," said Susan Carnaby's attorney Randall Kallinen. "Because you can be following the policies and practices and if those are faulty and cause the death of Roland Carnaby, which we say they did, specifically the high risk approach policy that can cause the city of Houston to be liable."

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt stands behind his officers.

"From what I know now it appears that they did a pretty fair job of following what our policy states and what the law was," Chief Hurtt said.

Helfman stands behind the grand jury's decision, although the bizarre ordeal has made now him suspect of any new friends.

"Once you get to have a friend, you think you know them well," he said. "Maybe you didn't know them."

What happened has also made a lasting impression on the law enforcement community, many of whom also believed Carnaby to be a federal agent. The CIA says he had no connection to them. His wife's attorney maintains he did contract work for the CIA, the FBI and the Secret Service.

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