Baytown standoff ends with suspect shot

January 29, 2012 4:16:04 PM PST
A domestic dispute turned into a shootout with the SWAT team in Baytown Sunday morning. And now a suspect is in the hospital, facing charges.

Baytown police say they got a call about the domestic disturbance at a home on Cypress near Cedar at around 5:30am. Inside the home was a man, his mother, his girlfriend and a 2-year-old child.

The shootout began once police arrived. On one end was Baytown PD SWAT. On the other end, a father who police say was armed with a gun.

"He actually struck one of our armored vehicles right where the driver was sitting," said Baytown Police Assistant Chief Roger Clifford. "It hit the driver's window right there."

Hours earlier, authorities were called out to the home after Amel Garza, 21, allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. But police say when the officers walked toward the house, Garza fired one shot at them.

A short time later, police say Garza let people out of the house. Family members identified them as Garza's mother, girlfriend and toddler. But he refused to come out.

From across the street, neighbors and the suspect's family stood by.

"He's made poor decisions, but everyone makes their own life the way they want it," said one family member who didn't want to be identified. "Regardless of what decisions he makes in life, I'm going to love him. That's my family. That's my blood."

"Mentally, he's losing his mind. He's sick," said Chiro Rodriguez, the victim's cousin. "That's why I was concerned."

Negotiators tried to communicate with Garza by tossing a phone device in a window.

"As it was inserted, he fired at the device we were using to insert it in the window and then be fired through the window at the officers outside," said Clifford. "He did receive an injury. I can't say if it was self-inflicted or if it was from the officers firing in return to his shots fired."

The standoff is still under investigation by Baytown police as well as the Harris County DA's office. There's no word on the charges the suspect will face.


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