Police: Fight over dog in NW Houston turns deadly

January 10, 2013 3:27:46 PM PST
A deadly fight between roommates all started over a dog, and officials say the shooting may have been self-defense. The fatal encounter happened at an apartment complex off Hollister in northwest Houston late Wednesday night.

A 21-year-old man had lived at the apartment for a while but he took in a roommate a few months back. But on Wednesday night there was a fight centered around a dog named Bear and it ended in death.

HPD Homicide Officer Brian Evans said, "When the secondary roommate was apparently attempting to choke a dog that was inside the apartment belonging to the primary lease holder, that individual then turned his attention from he dog to the lease holder and they became involved in a physical altercation."

Not long after that a gun was fired. The roommate who had choked the dog was shot. A neighbor heard the commotion.

"I looked over by the window and then I see the guy screaming and he says it hurts," recalled Ingrid. "But I didn't hear the gunshot, just the guy screaming."

The man police have identified as Brian Harper later died at a nearby hospital. Both roommates were 21 years old, and were often seen taking the dog outside. They were described as quiet and pleasant. One neighbor says one of the men was involved with an area church.

"He told me he was a youth pastor and he loved his job and he loved doing what he was doing," said neighbor Harold Davis. "He talked about the kids at the church all the time."

The roommate who shot his friend was questioned by police but he was not arrested and he is not charged. Police say it may be a case of self-defense.

"All of the evidence that we have on that scene appears that may be the case," said Officer Evans. "We don't have anything to indicate it was a struggle over than a self-defense type situation."

Because of that, police say the case will be presented to a grand jury which will decide whether charges are merited or not. The name of the tenant who shot Harper, according to police, is not being released because he has not been charged with a crime.

The dog was taken into the custody of animal control, which is seeking to return it to its owner.

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