Deputy shoots burglary suspect

February 11, 2008 11:26:10 AM PST
There's an investigation underway after a sheriff's deputy opened fire on a burglary suspect inside the Big Texas Dance Saloon.It began around 7am when an assistant manager arrived at the Big Texas Dance Hall on Holzwarth near the North Freeway. Before he could unlock the place, he found the front door had been kicked in and he felt as though somebody was inside. As luck would have it, a Harris County patrol car just happened to be passing by at that very moment.

"The manager stayed at the front of the facility," said Lt. John Legg with the Harris County Sheriff's office. "The deputy went in to clear the building. A short time thereafter the deputy advised he came across a suspect. It was very low light conditions."

Through the darkness, the deputy says he saw the outline of a human figure. He ordered the suspect to freeze, and then noticed what he thought to be a gun in the suspect's hand. Investigators say the suspect continued advancing toward the deputy, who then opened fire.

Lt. Legg explained, "He fired one shot, hitting the suspect in the arm. He then took that individual into custody."

Moments later, more deputies arrived and found a second suspect hiding in a back room office. It turns out neither suspect was armed, but investigators say this looks like a clean shoot.

"Especially since the suspect refused to comply with orders, and was proceeding towards the deputy who thought his life was in danger, so he fired one shot," Lt. Legg said.

The wounded suspect was taken by an ambulance to Hermann Hospital. Investigators describe his wound as non-life threatening. The second suspect was taken away some time later. Both men, who already have criminal records, could be facing burglary charges in this case.

Lt. Legg said, "One apparently was for robbery, the other one had drug charges and some minor misdemeanors."

Both suspects are in their late teens or early 20s. The injured suspect was apparently wearing some thick gloves, which may have contributed to the deputy's assumption that he was carrying a gun.

The deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

- Headlines at a glance