New details in fatal shooting of officer

December 9, 2008 5:28:12 AM PST
It's been two days since veteran HPD Officer Timothy Abernethy was killed during a traffic stop. [DONATIONS: The 100 Club is taking donation to help the officer's family]

Since then, we're learning more about his years of service and also about the suspect, Mabry Landor, who is now charged with capital murder. On Monday, we got our first close-up look at him.

Landor, 28, appeared before a judge Monday morning to be charged with capital murder. Landor's criminal history is long, ranging from assault to meth possession to a series of DWIs. He was released from prison only seven months ago.

But Sunday morning, Landor was pulled over on a traffic stop by Abernethy. Landor ran into an apartment courtyard. Abernethy followed and was gunned down moments later, detectives say, by the suspect who lay in wait.

On Monday on the spot where the officer was shot was a small arrangement of artificial flowers.

Abernethy was a former military man. He had been with HPD 11 years, starting off on the gang task force, working on the HPD dive team and was about to be assigned to the bomb squad.

Lance Gibson worked with him for six years.

"This really hurt all of us," he said. "I was training with him on Friday and we just got hit with this, also. This is tough right now. I wasn't ready for this."

Nobody who knew Abernethy was, least of all his family. On Monday, Stephanie Abernethy, Tim's widow, released the following statement: "Our family appreciates your thoughts and prayers. Tim will be missed by all who knew him and loved him. He was the joy of my life. I have a lifetime of wonderful memories."

Landor has been charged with capital murder, but a murder weapon has still not been found. Landor is said to have led detectives around the crime scene to look for it. We're also told he said he discarded it miles from the area. Anyone who finds the gun is asked to call the Houston police homicide division.

An HPD spokesperson says isn't calling it a confession, but says Landor has admitted involvement in the death of Officer Abernethy.

History of crime

Landor has a history of crime, dating back 10 years.

11/2007 - DWI, 3rd offense - 2 years TDC
08/2006 - Drug Possession - 2 years TDC
12/2005 - Assault - 333 days County Jail
08/2003 - Assault on a family member - 35 days county jail
08/2003 - DWI, 2nd offense - 10 days county jail
04/2003 - Drug Possession - 30 days county jail
02/2003 - Resisting arrest - 50 days county jail
08/2002 - Failure to stop & render aid - 10 months county jail
12/1999 - Drug possession - 90 days county jail
12/1998 - DWI - 180 days county jail

Another of Houston's finest killed

Over the last two years, two HPD officers have been killed on the job. Back in June, Officer Gary Gryder died after investigators say he was run over by an out-of-control driver.

And back in 2006, Officer Rodney Johnson was shot to death during a traffic stop. The man convicted of killing him, Juan Quintero, was sentenced to life in prison.

Johnson's widow says yesterday's shooting brought back painful memories of her husband's death. She was at the hospital give her support to the officer's family and colleagues.

"Somebody needs to do something. I hope this will wake the city's eyes up and show them how many more of us need to die before something is done," she said. "We need two-man units on the streets at all times, especially when you're riding by yourself on traffic. There's no reason for this."

Mayor White says there's no evidence pairing officers would prevent incidents like Sunday's shooting. He adds HPD is aggressively recruiting more officers.

Help for the family

The 100 Club is accepting donations for its "Survivor's Fund," which provides benefits to the dependents of peace officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty. A $10,000 check will be given to Officer Abernethy's family to assist with any needs they may have. If you wish to help, contributions may be made at www.the100club.org, or mailed to 100 Club Survivor's Fund, 1233 West Loop South, Suite 1250, Houston, TX 77027-9107. One-hundred percent of "Survivor's Fund" donations go to the dependents of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

His funeral will take place at champion Forest Baptist Church at 11am. The funeral is open to the public.

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