Houston sergeant with four decades on force killed while responding to disturbance

National News

Houston, Texas (NBC) (10/21/20)— A Houston police sergeant with 41 years on the force was killed Tuesday after a suspect allegedly opened fire on officers who were investigating a report of a “disturbance,” authorities said.

The suspect’s teenage son and a second officer were also wounded in the shooting, Houston police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters.

Acevedo identified the sergeant as Harold Preston, age 65. Officer Courtney Waller, who has been with the department for three years, was struck in the arm and taken to a local hospital, Acevedo said.

Houston Sergeant Harold Lloyd Preston.
Sergeant Harold Preston

The suspect’s 14-year-old son, who was not identified, was also shot in the arm and hospitalized.

The suspect, Elmer Manzano, age 51, surrendered after a tactical unit responded to the scene, Acevedo said.

Acevedo described Preston as an officer who led “from the front.”

“He is leading with men and women on streets, instead of choosing to sit in an office drinking coffee and reading the paper,” he said. “That is the man he was — he is a man who lived with elderly parents to take care of them. As good as he was as a cop, he was a better human being, that is just the guy that he was and we are going to miss him.”

Acevedo said officers had responded to a report from Manzano’s estranged wife, who said she was moving out of their apartment south of downtown Houston and had been unable to get inside to get her things Tuesday morning. Authorities had responded to the home multiple times for reports of domestic abuse, Acevedo said.

As the officers talked with the woman in the apartment building’s parking lot, her son unlocked the home’s door and found his father armed with a gun.

Manzano allegedly fired immediately, striking Preston in the head multiple times and also in the spine, Acevedo said.

The police department has not yet released what charges Manzano will be facing and it’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

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