Suspected burglar killed by police

July 24, 2009 9:31:41 PM PDT
The Houston Police Department said an officer killed a suspected burglar at an apartment complex in southwest Houston Friday. The officer fatally shot a man who attacked both him and his police dog Friday afternoon. The man was armed with a screwdriver. It happened in southwest Houston on Renwick.

It's a call we don't imagine getting at work on a Friday: someone has just broken into your house and has then been shot to death by police. It happened to a woman who lives here.

Maria Zavala was almost finished with her shift Friday when her father pulled up in a panic.

"He said, 'Come on, let's go.' I said, 'Why? What's going on?' Then he said, 'There's a guy shot in your apartment,' and I said, 'Are you kidding me?'" said Zavala.

As Zavala and her father arrived, more than a dozen HPD cruisers were already on scene at the Renwick Square apartments just off Bissonnet near Bellaire. However, it all began earlier around 4:20pm when Zavala's husband and brother-in-law were returning to their apartment.

"As they get up to the door, my brother-in-law heard weird noises and saw that the glass was cracked and the door was open. Then they found out it was a burglar," said Zavala.

They called 911 and several units responded, but it was a K-9 unit that confronted the adult male suspect crawling out of a side window.

"The suspect was lunging at him (the officer) and stabbing at him with a screwdriver. It was close quarters. Both he and the canine were receiving blows from the suspect," said Jodi Silva of the Houston Police Department.

At that point, the officer fired one shot, killing the burglary suspect outside the apartment.

The story was a little much for one resident to handle.

"Now that I hear this, I don't know if I want to be here anymore," said Araceli Guzman.

The canine suffered some minor scratches, as did the officer who was protected by his bulletproof vest.

In the meantime, Zavala said her only valuables are OK.

"Luckily, nothing happened to my son and my husband and my brother-in-law," said Zavala.

As is standard when an officer fires his weapon, this case will be reviewed by HPD's Internal Affairs Division as well as the Harris County Sheriff's Office to determine if the shooting was justified.

An identification on the suspect has not yet been released.

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