HPD: Officer opens fire on man sitting in vehicle in motel parking lot

A Houston police officer shoots a man after a confrontation outside a motel in northeast Houston.

February 13, 2013 4:10:29 AM PST
Houston police say an officer was forced to fire on a man outside a motel in northeast Houston overnight.

The shooting happened at the Palace Inn on the Eastex Freeway near Bender around 1am. It's an area police say is known for drug activity.

Investigators say an HPD crime prevention unit was patrolling the area when they spotted a man sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot. They say they noticed the smell of marijuana.

They asked the suspect to step out of his vehicle, but he refused to cooperate.

"He refuses to exit the vehicle. At one point, officers had to physically pull the suspect out of the vehicle. He became extremely combative, refused all verbal commands," said HPD spokesperson Victor Senties. "At one point, he starts rummaging the vehicle as if he is searching for something. Obviously, the officers, fearing for their lives and believing the suspect is going for a weapon, Officer Morelli discharged his duty weapon."

The suspect was shot at least once. He was transported to Ben Taub Hospital and is expected to survive.

There was also a woman in the car. She wasn't injured and is being held for questioning.

Investigators say they did find narcotics on the suspect.

Houston police identified the officer involved in the shooting as Officer D. Morelli. He has been with HPD since 2006. The Houston Police Department and the district attorney will investigate the incident.

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices