Doctor: Officer fatally shot in the back during sting

May 26, 2010 2:46:22 PM PDT
In court Wednesday, we learned Houston Police Officer Henry Canales was shot at least once in the back during an undercover sting operation last year, but not before he was able to fire off at least eight rounds at the suspect, killing him. Xiomara Mendez Rosales and Andres Nava Maldonado are on trial for felony murder. They were present the night Officer Canales was shot and killed by suspect Roberto Carrillo.

In the trial of the two people accused of murdering Officer Canales, prosecutors Wednesday used surveillance video taken from inside a Walgreen's near the shooting the day he died. Shoppers ran inside surprised by the shootout taking place next door. A small child is seen running inside for safety.

On Wednesday, Dr. Morna Gonsoulin testified over 15 shots were fired that night. She performed the autopsy on Officer Canales and suspect Carrillo, saying both shot at each other, and both were shot in the back. She could not say who shot first, but says Officer Canales died from a gunshot wound to the back.

Dr. Gonsoulin also said Carrillo had taken cocaine that night in June 2009, and there were traces of ephedrine, a stimulant, in Officer Canales' system. While ephedrine is a legal substance, the defense questions whether Officer Canales was alert that night.

"You're tired, and you're out there working overtime, taking 'Nodoze,' ephedrine, you just did a bust earlier that day. You're waiting for hours. You want it to be done, and you make a mistake, and it's an honest mistake," said defense attorney Casey Keirnan.

Carrillo, along with Mendez Rosales and Nava Maldonado, were the target of an undercover HPD sting operation. They'd just bought what they believed were stolen televisions from Officer Canales when Carrillo became suspicious of the officer and shot him. Both Officer Canales and Carrillo died at the scene.

According to testimony, Office Canales never said the correct codeword to bring in backup. However, one of Officer Canales' supervising officers says he knew what to expect that night.

"He was asked if he had any problems with the suspects having weapons and his comment was, 'Yeah I can take care of myself," said HPD Sgt. T.J. Salazar.

The defense for both defendants argue the pair did not know Officer Canales was a cop and were afraid they were about to be robbed or killed by him.

It has not been proven if Mendez Rosales and Nava Maldonado had weapons at the time of the shooting. Both are illegal immigrants, and both are charged with felony murder in Officer Canales' death.

If convicted, the two defendants could face up to life in prison.


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