Suspects charged in cop's death in court

June 25, 2009 12:19:27 PM PDT
Two suspects in the murder of Houston Police Officer Henry Canales appeared in probable cause court this morning.[PHOTOS: Images from this story]

Andres Nava Maldonado, 41, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant, requested to speak to the Mexican Consulate to get legal counsel. He has been charged with capital murder in the case which investigators say happened during an undercover sting in southwest Houston.

Another person accused in the case, Xiomara Mendez-Rosales, 36, also appeared in court this morning. She, too, is believed to be in the country illegally.

Both were denied bond.

Police say Roberto Pedroza-Carrillo, 37, was the gunman who allegedly shot Officer Canales Tuesday night and then was fatally shot by Canales' partner.

The tragic shooting happened around 9pm Tuesday near the Walgreens off Hillcroft near Bellaire. During this morning's court proceedings, we learned new details as to how that tragedy unfolded.

Investigators say it all started when the four suspects called undercover officers saying they had stolen televisions.

Officer Canales, 42, along with other undercover officers from the auto theft and burglary theft divisions, came to the location to meet with those suspects. Officer Canales was posing as a person selling stolen television sets. The stolen television sets, worth $30,000, were being sold for $6,500.

When Canales received the money from the suspects, he signaled to the other officers doing surveillance that the deal was done. That is when, according to investigators, Carrillo pulled out a gun and Nava-Maldonado told him to get the money from Canales. Carrillo shot Canales, who then shot Carrillo.

The autopsy on Officer Canales show he died from a gunshot wound to the back.

When the other undercover officers heard those shots, a second officer, R. Lopez, tried to apprehend the suspect and even handcuffed him, but Carrillo managed to wiggle his way back to his own gun.

"He was in the process of being taken into custody when he reached back and shot several times," said HPD spokesperson Victor Senties.

Officer Lopez was not hit, but did fatally shoot Carrillo while he was handcuffed. At the time the initial gunfire broke out, the three other suspects got into a van and fled the scene. Police caught up to them at Highway 59 and Bellaire, where Rosales, Maldonado and the juvenile were arrested.

Officers at the substation where Officer Canales was most recently working wore black stripes over their badges to honor their fallen comrade.

"There is a lot of danger both for your personnel, for your family. You know, you really have to be cognizant about everything around you all of the time," said Gary Blankinship with the Houston Police Officer's Union. "When you are working in an undercover capacity, you always have the danger of people of not knowing you are a police officer out there when things start going bad."

Officer Canales has been with the Houston Police Department since 1993. He leaves behind a wife, as well as a teenage son and daughter.

We'll continue to follow this story and bring you the latest updates as we get them.

Funeral for Officer Canales

Officer Canales' funeral has been scheduled. There will be a viewing Sunday at Grandview Funeral Home in Pasadena. His funeral will be Monday at Grace Community Church in southeast Houston.

Helping out

"The 100 Club of Houston" will help Officer Canales's family cover his funeral expenses. If you'd like to make a donation, visit the 100 Club of Houston website to help the families of Houston Police Officers killed in the line of duty.

Recent HPD officer shootings

The last time a Houston police officer was shot was March 5. Rick Salter was shot in the face during a drug raid in east Houston. He was hospitalized following the shooting. The man suspected of shooting him, Wifido Joel Alfaro, was shot and killed by other officers who were involved in the raid.

And back in December, 11-year HPD veteran Tim Abernethy was killed. He was murdered during a foot chase in northwest Houston. The 43-year-old left behind a wife and two children.

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