Man 'acting strangely' shot to death by cop during scuffle in southwest Houston

Police say the suspect attacked the officer with his hands and that the officer feared for his life when he opened fire
March 18, 2014 3:49:28 AM PDT
Police are investigating a fatal shooting at a motel along the Southwest Freeway.

Just after 7am, Houston police were called to the Plainfield Inn near Ponderosa Lane for a robbery in progress. Investigators say a man attacked a hotel guest while attempting to rob him. The suspect ran but when police arrived an officer found him in the street, acting strangely.

"(He was) making movements in the street. He was making boxing moves in the street. He was alone," said HPD spokesperson Jodi Silva.

Detectives say the officer tried to stop the man and he refused to comply. Things escalated and when the officer tried to handcuff the suspect, he broke free and ran. The officer reportedly gave chase and when he caught up there was a scuffle, during which police say the suspect struck the officer.

Authorities say the officer found himself backpedaling and out of options.

"The suspect charged one last time and at that time the officer, in fear of his life, discharged his duty weapon," Silva said.

The suspect was shot once and pronounced dead at the scene.

"He was just cold and homeless and innocent. I'm thinking he was really mentally ill," said eyewitness Robbie Meraz.

Hotel guests say they saw the man hanging around overnight. They say he stood around for hours and didn't seem a bother to anyone. They wonder if whatever happened here could have gone differently.

"It makes me really wonder. It really does," said Meraz.

The officer was sworn in back in 2003. As is standard procedure, the officer will be placed on administrative leave for three days. HPD, Internal Affairs and the DA's office all will investigate to see if the shooting was justified.

The man who was killed has not yet been identified.

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