UPDATED: Man Reaches For a Can of Beer, Shot Dead by Officer Who Thought He Had a Gun:Bayou Body Count No. 96

Categories: Crime

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A deadly misunderstanding
Update: According to a Houston Chronicle report, witnesses say the dead man, Rufino Lara, did not have his hands in his pockets, but in the air. A witness also said the officers addressed them only in English.

An unidentified man was shot to death by a Houston police officer when he reached into his waistband -- contrary to the orders of the officer -- and she shot him, according to police.

There was no weapon on the man; he was reaching for a can of beer, investigators reported.

Officer J. McGowan and her partner were called to a shopping center in the 7000 block of Bissonnet where there were was a reported assault in progress. They arrived to find at least five suspects attacking one man.

According to investigating officers M. Khan, S. Anderson and Officers M. Chaney and I. Ulloa, who are Homicide Division senior police officers:

When the officers exited their patrol vehicle, one of the males began to walk away from the group. Officer McGowan gave verbal commands to the male, in English and Spanish, ordering him to return. As Officer McGowan approached the suspect, she noticed a bulge concealed underneath his shirt, near his waistband, which he was holding with his left hand. The suspect did not comply with Officer McGowan's verbal commands to stop and show his hands, and continued to walk away.

As Officer McGowan drew her duty weapon, her partner ran toward her direction to help. The suspect then reached into his left side waist band. The officers continued to give verbal commands to the suspect in English and Spanish. The suspect, with both hands on his left side, attempting to pull a concealed object out of his waist band, turned towards Officer McGowan. The officer, fearing for her life and the life of her partner, then discharged her duty weapon one time. striking the suspect in the chest. HFD paramedics were called and pronounced the male deceased. A preliminary search of the suspect indicated he did not have a weapon. Officers recovered the object (a can of beer) he was concealing.

As is customary in HPD officer-involved shooting incidents in the city limits, the case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions, as well as the Harris County District Attorney's Office.



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7 comments
Sc385
Sc385

Please excuse all the misspelled waistbands .. I'm on iPad and it kept correcting to waste :)

Sc3825
Sc3825

Witnesses?! Liars. Officer McGowan speaks spanish and her partner speaks spanish fluently. We don't investigate based on hindsight, but based on the information we had at the time. Do you know how many officers who have been killed in the line of duty? A- she shouldn't be required to speak in Spanish. Or should she also speak Farsi, russian, German, Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and mandarin? B- how did he live to be 54 years old and not know when a cop tells you to put your hands up- do it. In fact, it is illegal not to obey the lawful order of a police officer. C- she knew he was concealing something in his waste and and he reached for it. Tell me what is more likely concealed in a waste and at a fight-- a gun or a beer? Come on people.

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Turns out the deceased was an illegal alien who was wanted fugitive and had been deported before.

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Hex does what he wants. F laws!

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He was fighting. That's why the police were called in the first place.

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Hey, if you don't want to obey the law, go right ahead. But be prepared for the consequences.

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He shouldn't have listened to the officer's commands, huh?

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