Suspect fatally shot by METRO police officer identified

August 3, 2011 1:10:03 PM PDT
We now know the name of an armed suspect shot and killed by a METRO police officer Tuesday in west Houston.

According to police, Nolton Joseph LaFleur III, 29, ran a red light on Fountainview at around 2:20pm Tuesday and a METRO police officer pulled him over in the 6000 block of Fairdale. Police say METRO Police Officer R. Hernandez, in his patrol vehicle, caught up with the Nissan sedan LaFleur was driving at an apartment security gate in the 6000 block of Fairdale. As the officer approached the vehicle on the driver's side, a male passenger -- suspect Brandon Stevenson -- jumped out of the car.

The officer then saw a pistol in the center console cup holder by LaFleur's right hand, police say, and the officer gave LaFleur verbal commands to put his hands up and away from the gun.

The complex gate then opened and Stevenson ran into the complex. Police say LaFleur put his vehicle in reverse, backed the car around the patrol vehicle, continued in reverse on Fairdale and backed the Nissan into a drainage ditch on the north side of the street. Lafleur then repeatedly put the vehicle in drive and reverse in an attempt to get out of the ditch.

Officer Hernandez says he approached the vehicle on the driver's side and repeated verbal commands for LaFleur to put his hands up. At that time, an HPD patrol officer arrived at the scene to assist the officer.

According to police, Lafleur ignored Officer Hernandez's verbal commands and reached for his pistol. Fearing for his safety and that of the HPD officer on the scene, police say Officer Hernandez discharged his weapon several times.

LaFleur suffered multiple gun shot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness told us what she saw.

"He put the car in reverse and they just started shooting," witness Brittany Reding said. "They pulled up behind this young man entering my gate for whatever reason and when the police officer approached them, he immediately was trying to put that car in park. And it went in reverse and they just started opening fire on him."

Stevenson, 27, was found hiding in the attic of a nearby townhouse and was taken into custody a short time later. He faces a charge of evading on foot. Stevenson is also wanted on a robbery warrant out of Arkansas.

The officer was not injured in the incident. Officer Hernandez is a 12-year veteran of METRO police. He is a member of the tactical team and firearms trainer.

The case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide Division and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

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