Officer fatally shoots suspect in NE Houston

December 26, 2011 2:15:35 PM PST
A suspect was killed when a Houston police officer says he was forced to fire his weapon during a struggle because he feared for his life.

It happened around 11:3pm Sunday near an apartment complex off Tidwell and Mesa road on the northeast side.

Family members have identified the suspect as Blake Pate. They say Pate was simply driving a Camaro to go visit another family member when he got himself involved in a car crash. A car crash, they say, is one thing, but there is no reason why he should be dead.

Brothers Eric and Miles Jones still want answers. They want to know why a Houston police officer shot and kill their uncle, Blake Pate, Christmas evening.

"I just want to know what happened out there, exactly," Eric Jones said.

"There is too much information missing between him being told to stop with the officer's weapon drawn and him scuffled to the ground," Miles Jones said.

On Sunday night, Pate was driving this black Camaro with racing stripes when he lost control and crashed it into a ditch near a north Houston apartment complex. An officer leaving the complex saw the crash and tried to arrest Pate.

Eyewitness Anedra Duncan describes what happened next.

"He told him to go to the other side of the police car, and when he went to other side of the police car, he called him back and the guy stuck his hands out, and he started shooting, and the man fell toward on (the officer)," she said.

But the officer involved, Sgt. Curtis Hampton, told a different story through a Houston police spokesman.

"At one point, the officer wound up on his back on the ground with the suspect standing directly over him. That suspect then reached for the officer and the officer, fearing for his safety, fired his duty weapon, striking the suspect," HPD Spokesman Kese Smith said.

Duncan, though, says she saw no struggle.

"I'm telling you he stuck his hands out, and then there was the shooting; it was pow, pow, pow, pow, pow," Duncan said.

The Jones brothers say Pate was helping them launch a furniture repair business. They say he didn't have a gun, not even a cell phone with him. And they simply don't understand why police had to shoot.

"I definitely don't see him putting any aggression toward an officer, I mean he's not stupid, so I think the officer reacted stupidly -- definitely -- and caused a lot of hurt to our family," Miles Jones said.

Pate's mother is on her way from Arkansas, according to the Jones. Police did not recover a weapon. In fact, a lieutenant on the scene told us they don't believe the suspect was armed at all.

The police sergeant was not injured. He is on administrative leave for three days while this investigation continues, which is HPD protocol.

We're awaiting results of a toxicology report to determine if that suspect was under the influence at the time of the accident.


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