Officers shoot, kill armed suspect

February 10, 2009 6:49:00 AM PST
Several officers shot and killed a man after he refused to surrender to police.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It happened late last night at the Hammerly Oaks Apartments on Hammerly near Hollister in northwest Houston. Police say they were forced to open fire when the man aimed a shotgun at the officers.

The call to 911 first came in from a resident at the complex, saying there was a man walking around with a shotgun. By the time police arrived, the 28-year-old suspect had gone back into his apartment. Police tried to talk to him, but he refused to come out.

The man even called dispatchers, asking them to tell officers he had no intention of coming out and wanted them to leave. At the same time, the man was texting a friend saying he was thinking about killing himself. That friend called police and then came to the scene.

Officers were about to call the SWAT team when things took a very dramatic turn.

"The suspect walked out of the apartment with a shotgun in his hand. Our officers gave numerous commands for the suspect to drop his weapon. He refused," said Sgt. John Chomiak with the Houston Police Department. "Slow and deliberately started to raise his weapon towards the officers, four of our officers discharged their duty weapons, striking the suspect. The suspect was transported to Northwest Memorial, where he was pronounced dead."

Investigators do believe this is a case of 'suicide by cop.' As part of the investigation, they will talk with the man's family and friends and try and figure out what was going on in his life to bring him to this point.

"Our officers gave almost 10 to 15 commands for the suspect to drop his weapon," said Sgt. Chomiak. "You know, it takes giving a command 10 to 20 times for somebody to drop their weapon and for them just to give you a blank stare and start raising that weapon towards the officers. Yeah, there is a lot going on there."

As far as the officers, they were aware this man was thinking about suicide. We are told they are all veteran officers. The four of them will be placed on desk duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

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