HPD officer shoots suspect outside downtown Starbucks


by Andrew Horansky and Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News


Posted on February 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 27 at 6:33 PM

HOUSTON — A plain clothes Houston police officer shot a suspect Thursday morning just outside a Starbucks in downtown Houston, police have confirmed.

The Houston Police Department has confirmed that one of its officers discharged his gun outside a Starbucks on Dallas near Main.

“I was inside ordering my coffee. I heard someone say, ‘Hey, he’s taking something.’ I just heard boom, boom. We all turned around and was just looking,” said Andrea Taylor, a customer.

The coffee shop is connected to a Courtyard Marriott and had customers inside at the time. One of them, a woman visiting from Iowa who is in town for a convention, said there was a suspect wearing a trench coat.

Witnesses said that the incident started when it appeared that the suspect try and take something from someone inside the shop. He then ran outside and was followed by the plain clothes officer, who ordered him to stop.

Another witness said the officer kept ordering the suspect to hand over what he had under his arm.

“They had come over here and the undercover police man approached him and told him to release what he had stole. But the homeless guy told him no,” said Mohammed, a witness.

The suspect refused and police say he grabbed a piece of wood and tried to swing it at the officer. But it didn’t end well, and after following the suspect, the officer fired.

“He threatens the officer with it. At one point takes a swing at the officer’s head. At that point the officer fearing for his life discharges his weapon,” said Victor Senties, with HPD.

Police say the man was shot in the arm and even after that, he tried to run away. The suspect grabbed a rope and tried to use that as a weapon.

At that point, a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy in the area stopped the suspect and arrested him.

One man at the scene said he recognized the suspect from the street and says he was homeless. He believes his friend was unarmed and that he heard the officer fire twice.

“He don’t bother nobody, he just walk around. Looking for cups of coffee or cig. I never see him bother nobody,” said Mohammad.

“It just happened so fast, everybody was like real shocked. All the cops are still out there, scary, scary," said Taylor.

HPD said that man is now at the hospital and that his injuries are not life-threatening. The officer was not injured.

The hotel and coffee shop are just one block from HPD headquarters. The officer in question here is S. Gallagher. He is a plain clothes officer who works in the burglary and theft division. Gallagher has been with HPD since 2010.