Police mistake bar owners for burglars, open fire

HOUSTON It happened around 5am Friday morning in the 500 block of Dixie Farm Road near Ellington Field.

Break-ins have been a problem in the area, but so far they haven't had any shootings. That is, until the Houston Police Department opened fire this morning.

Bartender Michelle Larrison has seen her share of break-ins at the Smokin' J's Sports Bar. The latest was just last week.

"Last Tuesday, they shattered the front glass door, which is why we now have the bars across the front door," said Larrison.

The break-ins are so prevalent, that an officer from Houston Police Department's Crime Reduction Unit was actually watching the bar from the outside early this morning. When the officer saw something unusual, backup was called. But what they didn't realize was that the bar owners were inside monitoring security cameras and when they heard a commotion, they headed out the back door.

"As he came out of the office, the cops heard the gun go 'click, click' and when they heard that 'click, click,' that's when they fired," said Larrison. "But I'm very glad to know that the police are watching this place."

Police say when one of the owners went outside with his weapon and two officers fired, thinking he was a suspect. They both missed.

At the convenience store next door, security cameras captured some of the officers involved in the investigation of just how HPD officers can mistake a bar owner for a burglary suspect.

"It creates the problem. He could be dead, he could be killed. It's too bad for the police department and the people. It's scary," said Abraham Tamang.

Neither of the bar owners wanted to talk on camera, but for people who live nearby this near miss by officers is worrisome.

"They shot at the wrong people, obviously, if it was the owner in his own establishment. And that's a little unsettling. How are they going to determine who's the good guys and the bad guys?" said neighbor Kristen Crow.

We talked to some other businesses in the area who said that the burglaries are nothing new. They also said they are relieved the bar owner was not hurt in this incident.

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