Police: Man shot foster daughter

March 1, 2012 8:03:33 AM PST
A man shot his adult foster daughter in what police are calling an apparent case of self-defense. Investigators say the 23-year old woman was wielding a knife when her foster father shot her in the head.

Police have so far made no arrests, and filed no charges as they continue to investigate.

While Johnny Smart was installing carpet at a home Wednesday afternoon in the 7700 block of Alperton near Pine Ridge, he noticed the next door neighbor outside on the phone in tears.

"He was on the phone. He was crying," Smart said. "I guess he was calling 911. I asked him what's wrong. I didn't get no response. He was very, very emotional."

That man was taken in for questioning by police, though not charged and not arrested. Police say the 65-year-old man shot his foster daughter, Tammy Sue Zaleta, 23, after she charged at him with a kitchen knife while inside their home here.

Houston Police Sgt. M.L.Meeler said, "She was having some kind of fit. She came at him with a knife. He was able to get his pistol and defended himself."

Police found that knife inside the home. Police say it is believed Zaleta was under the influence of narcotics at the time of the incident. They are investigating whether that was an issue here. In the last year, Houston police have been called to the home three other times.

Neighbor Dorinda McKenzie said, "Yeah, my heart's beating kind of fast right now."

Neighbors are stunned by the shooting. But those who know the man who allegedly pulled the trigger say he is not the type who would use a gun without thinking about the ramifications first.

"I just find it hard to believe, but you never know anyone's character," McKenzie said.

Police tell us Zaleta was gravely injured. She is listed in critical condition.