One dies after officer-involved shooting

February 21, 2011 8:16:41 AM PST
New questions are being raised after investigators say a Houston police officer shot two men while off-duty. Family members of the men who were shot claim the officer had been drinking prior to the shooting. The shooting happened early Saturday morning outside Sherlock's Baker St. Pub and Grill near River Oaks.

The shooting killed 29-year-old Omar Ventura. Family members say Ventura was at the bar with several other people. They were outside at the same time off-duty Officer Jose Coronado was leaving.

In the parking lot, police say there was some sort of fight and Coronado ended up shooting his weapon more than one time. The officer claims he fired his weapon in self-defense because Ventura threatened to shoot him first. Ventura was shot once in the abdomen and was pronounced dead at Ben Taub Hospital.

But several of Ventura's family contacted Eyewitness News, claiming Ventura was not armed. Houston police aren't commenting on whether a weapon was found at the scene.

"I don't think that he did. It was never established that there was a weapon," Coronado's Attorney, Chad Hoffman, said.

Hoffman said Coronado claimed Ventura said he had a gun, reached for his waistband and threatened verbally to shoot the officer.

Coronado has been with the Houston Police Department for four years. As standard practice, he's been placed on administrative duty for up to three days. He'll also meet with HPD psychologists.

Hoffman said it's typical Coronado will undergo drug and alcohol tests.

"He had been drinking, but was certainly not intoxicated," Hoffman said.

Ventura's brother, Rolando Ventura, 27, also was shot in the incident. He was hit in his left arm. Family members say he's underwent surgery at the hospital, but he's expected to recover.

Autopsy results are pending for Ventura.

Police say there is a possibility a third individual was shot, but that person has not been located or identified. In addition, there are possibly other witnesses to this incident who might have left the scene prior to the arrival of patrol officers.

Anyone with information in this incident is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600.

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