Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia won't apologize to former Lone Star College shooting suspect

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says he won't apologize to Carlton Berry, a student who was initially identified as a suspect in the shooting at the Lone Star College North Harris campus, after charges were dropped against him.

January 28, 2013 8:30:21 PM PST
From trouble with the timeline on the day of the shooting to fingering a suspect who now appears to be the wrong man, the Harris County Sheriff's Office has repeatedly given confusing information about the case and sometimes just wrong information.

On When faced with tough questions on Monday, the sheriff wasn't answering.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia talked tough about Carlton Berry the day after the shooting at Lone Star College.

"As I mentioned, Carlton Berry is facing two counts of aggravated assault, felony charges, and we hope -- I hope -- he gets what he deserves," Garcia said last week.

As we know now, charges against Berry have been dropped, but the sheriff isn't changing his mind.

Last week in a news conference seen live all over the country, Sheriff Garcia was a no-nonsense, fact-toting Texas lawman, showing off his mugshot of the recently arrested Berry.

"If we can make an example out of anyone, we will," Garcia said.

At that moment, the man who prosecutors believe was the lone shooter was still on the loose. Garcia, though, was ready to hand out punishment.

"I hope he gets what he deserves for putting others in harm's way," Garcia said.

On Monday, Berry walked of jail.

Charges were dropped. His family is demanding an apology. They're not getting one.

"I am not going to apologize," Garcia said. "I owe him no apology."

But Garcia went further and said that if they had never charged the wrong guy, they may never have gotten the right guy -- Trey Foster.

"If it had not been for Carlton Berry, we may not be talking or providing these statements this morning like the fact that Mr. Foster is in jail," Garcia said Monday.

KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says Garcia was out of bounds, adding Garcia is just the lawman in this case, not the judge nor the jury.

"It's irresponsible," Androphy said. "He's the sheriff. His job is to investigate, not to punish before all the evidence has been heard. Obviously, the sheriff hasn't heard all the evidence in the case."

"These cases are always a work in progress," Garcia said.

But Monday afternoon, he'd heard enough. We had more questions. The sheriff decided we'd gotten enough answers.

"Should you have held up his picture and said 'I hope he gets what he deserves?' Should you have outed him on national television?" we asked.

Not only is the sheriff refusing to give Berry an apology, the sheriff's office is asking us to apologize to him for our reporting, pointing out the confusion.

Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for continuing coverage of the Lone Star College campus shooting.


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