Only on 13: Video shows HPD officer shooting 'aggressive panhandler' to death outside McDonald's

ByRosie Nguyen, Brooke Taylor, and Derrick Lewis KTRK logo
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Video shows HPD officer shooting man who charged at him knife
The video above shows the moment an HPD officer opened fire on a man who allegedly charged at him with a knife outside of a McDonald's.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Only ABC13 obtained footage of a Houston police officer shooting and killing a man, who police described as an aggressive panhandler.

Officers with the Houston Police Department were called at about 7:53 a.m. Tuesday after reports of a disturbance with a weapon in the 7600 block of Long Point Road.

It all started when the suspect, who was acting aggressively, was bothering citizens and drivers, HPD Executive Chief Matt Slinkard said.

An officer arrived within a minute of the call and saw the suspect had a flag pole of some kind, which he used to smash a woman's car windshield, Slinkard said. Footage shows the man taking an American flagpole before running with an officer close behind.

As the officer approached the man, the suspect allegedly whipped out a knife and charged at the officer. The officer asked for backup, but at that time, Slinkard said the officer discharged his weapon.

WATCH: HPD gives update on deadly shooting involving officer outside McDonald's in Spring Branch East

The suspect was walking erratically walking on the street with some kind of flag, which he used to smash a woman's car windshield, prior to the deadly shooting, HPD said.

A witness said she heard the officer shoot several times.

"I feel like I heard six gunshots. Definitely more than one. It was kind of 'pop, pop, pause, pop, pop, pop,'" Lisa Eicher, who was leaving the McDonald's drive-thru, said.

One of the bullets fired by the officer, who has been with the department for one year, went through a window at McDonald's, causing employees and customers to rush out of the restaurant.

"I saw all the employees rush out the back door, and one of them hopped in my car, and we sped away as quickly as we could," Eicher said.

At the scene, the suspect was immediately given first aid and CPR, but he was pronounced dead by the Houston Fire Department.

"If you are in fear for your life, and the person has something in their hand that can sustain bodily injury to the point of killing you, there is no other option," Tony Leal, a former Texas Rangers chief, said.

A bullet even went through the McDonald's window. Despite the shooting happening near multiple people, Leal said it's the officer's job to keep himself alive.

WATCH: Man killed by HPD officer was living with mental illness, family says

As an investigation continues into an HPD officer shooting and killing a man who police said was acting aggressively, the man's family told ABC13 he had been living with a mental i

"The only determining factor in deciding whether a police officer or a citizen, anybody, can use deadly force is if he or she feels that their life is in jeopardy," he said.

Police have not confirmed how many shots the officer fired.

The family of the guy killed told ABC13 he had been living with a mental illness.

No officers or citizens were hurt, but HPD said it will be interviewing customers at the McDonald's, and any other witnesses, who may have more information on the incident.

As for the officer who fired his weapon, he has been put on administrative leave as the investigation continues.