Off-duty Conroe officer shoots, kills teenage shoplifting suspect

August 1, 2013 11:10:37 AM PDT
A shoplifting suspect was shot and killed after what police say was a violent struggle with an off-duty officer. The deadly confrontation came about after the officer chased the teenager suspected of stealing from a Walmart in Conroe.

This all began around 7:30pm at the store on the North Loop 336 West near I-45.

According to police, an off-duty Conroe police officer saw Walmart loss prevention officers chasing a suspected shoplifter.

The Conroe officer asked if the Walmart officers needed help, and when they said yes, he chased the man into a wooded area near the store, where police say the two began to struggle with each other.

"At one point, the officer was being choked by the suspect to the extent that he felt like he was going to lose consciousness," said Sgt. Dorcy Riddle with the Conroe Police Department. "At that point, he discharged a weapon, striking the suspect."

The suspect, identified as Russell Rios, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It's crazy because yesterday we just saw him," said Rios' friend Aldair Ortega.

Ortega lives across the street from Russell, ran track with him in high school and considers him a close friend.

"This morning, last night I got the call. 'You heard? Russell got killed,'" he said. "I couldn't believe it."

"It's crazy how it happened. And the next day, he's gone," said another friend, Victor Reyes.

Ortega says Rios graduated high school two years ago, got a job and seemed happy with his life. Now he's wondering what happened last evening and why his friend had to die.

"Russell was there, and he was in the wrong situation, but he was a good person," said Ortega.

According to police, the officer involved was a sergeant on the police force. They say he suffered some minor injuries. He'll be placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

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