Two stories being told in cop shooting

March 7, 2009 12:09:15 PM PST
Eyewitness News has more details on the man who shot a Houston police officer in the face Thursday night. The suspect, Joel Alfaro, was later shot and killed by another officer. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The wounded officer, a veteran with the department's narcotics division, is surrounded by family and other officers in the Texas Medical Center.

We learned more about the people involved in the drug raid Thursday night and there are two very distinct sides to the same story. Police said they shot and killed an armed suspected drug dealer. The suspect's family said police killed a man who was merely protecting his home.

Joel Alfaro, 29, was a married father of two young boys and a construction worker who his sister-in-law said was not the drug dealer police are alleging.

"Have they said...have they said that they found nothing in this house? that there was nothing?" said Olidia Aviles, Alfaro's sister-in-law.

While Alfaro's body is now at the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office, his family is planning to bury him. We watched his wife leave briefly Friday afternoon to make funeral arrangements.

Across town, we found the colleagues and friends of officer, R.L. Salter, who was shot in the face. Police told us Salter was shot by Alfaro during a drug raid, as part of a heroin investigation.

Chief Harold Hurtt of the Houston Police Department told us he was unaware of the Alfaro's family's claims that he had no drugs in the house.

"I haven't spoken to the family. I haven't been debriefed or what the family said or whatever right now we just want to take care of dealing with our officers and we'll take care of dealing with the family and the rest of the investigation later," said Chief Hurtt.

Alfaro's house was equipped with video cameras and recorders. The family said it was to protect the home which was burglarized in the past. Police said Alfaro used it to see the officers before they raided the house.

"From the reports I got, they were ambushed. The minute they opened the door, he opened up on 'em," said Gary Blankinship, President of the Houston Police Officers Union.

Regardless, two families and two communities are grieving.

Police have not told us very much about their investigation, but they have told us that, as is standard procedure, internal affairs is involved in figuring out what happened in the shooting.

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