Houston at higher risk of right-wing extremist violence, HPD chief says

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With the Department of Homeland Security's new bulletin warning of domestic terror attacks, the Houston region should be even more alert due to right-wing extremist groups in the area, according to the city's chief of police.

"We are a hot bed, and we have to be vigilant," HPD Chief Art Acevedo said. "This is the world we've come to. If I mention right-wing, people think I'm attacking conservatives."

On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued the bulletin warning of the potential for lingering violence from people motivated by anti-government sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.

The department did not cite a specific threat, but pointed to "a heightened threat environment across the United States" that it believes "will persist" since Biden took office on Jan. 20.

The bulletin mentions potential racist and anti-immigrant attacks like the deadly El Paso Walmart shooting of 2019 in which 23 people were gunned down by a shooter who's accused of targeting Latinos.

Regarding the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Acevedo pointed out it left police officers injured and one of them killed.

"The blue line has been hijacked by racists," Acevedo said. "They're real supportive when you wear this uniform, as long as you let them engage in mayhem and let them engage in sedition."

SEE MORE: US terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence after 2020 election

At the Capitol was one of Acevedo's own, a now-resigned HPD officer Tam Pham who is now charged in connection with the riot.

SEE ALSO: Houston police officer was part of Capitol storm, chief says
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An 18-year veteran of the HPD was placed on administrative leave after he was identified as one of the many protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The bulletin remains in effect through the end of April. Acevedo echoes its warning to be vigilant if you hear or see anything suspicious.

"We've got to take those threats seriously and report them," he said.

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