Deputies' actions before SWAT scene questioned

May 17, 2012 8:12:22 PM PDT
A woman was attacked in her own home by her husband, a man who was supposed to stay away from her. She'd filed paperwork to get protection, but it may have been ignored.

The woman is recovering after the attack. And now, there are questions as to why her husband was let go after he was confronted by Precinct 4 deputy constables. The department is now investigating what happened.

Precinct 4's Assistant Chief Mark Herman says they are launching an investigation after we brought this to his attention.

On May 11 at 6:30pm, Precinct 4 deputies and HPD SWAT officers created an armed camp on Beacham Street in Lakewood Forest.

"Within minutes, we had three snipers on our balcony," neighbor Tom Hale said.

The standoff would last six hours. A husband stabbed his wife's chest and barricaded himself in a room, periodically firing a gun at deputies. Eventually, he shot himself in the chest and died.

Tom and Sherry Hale watched it unfold from across the street.

"Rapid fire and the room, where the husband was barricaded in, lit up when the shots went off. We could see that," Hale said.

Court records show the wife, Jeanne Galladora, filed a protective order against husband, James, for choking her. That was May 6, five days before the standoff. A judge ordered him not to contact her. And not to go within 200 feet of their home. But he did -- twice.

"On May 11, right after midnight, I think a family member brought him to that location to get his truck," Herman said.

The husband came back to his house around 1am on May 11, arguably, violating the protective order. But he wasn't arrested.

"When they found him sitting on the curb down the street from the house, he still had needles in him and IVs where he had voluntarily just walked out of a local hospital. EMS hadn't even checked him out," Herman said.

Deputies let him go. It's still unclear why. But then he came back again on the same night, stabbed his wife and killed himself.

"If this guy would've been arrested, he wouldn't have been able to come back?" we asked Herman.

"You know what? I hate to speculate on that," he replied.

Herman says he's looking into what happened the early morning hours of May 11 and what actions his officers took.

"When you initially brought up calls being there, that was the first I heard about it," Herman said.

He says that could take days or weeks.

"Should've arrested him, should've let the judge decide if he's violating the protective order," KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy said.

Androphy points to a state law that says officers shall arrest for a violation of a protective order. If that's the case, the standoff may never have happened.

"If there is probable cause to believe he violated that order, you arrest him and let the judge decide whether he did or not," Androphy said.

Galladora's wife survived the stabbing and is out of the hospital, recovering.

We will follow up with Herman, who said the department will get to the bottom of it.

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