HOUSTON – An officer with the Houston Police Department said he had no choice but to shoot and kill an assault suspect in the Third Ward Thursday morning.
A 911 caller told police a 38-year-old neighbor had kicked in the front door of his home, then sexually assaulted a child in a back bedroom.
When the child’s grandfather, 87-year-old Warren Abbs, confronted the suspect, he was attacked. Abbs is in a wheelchair.
Abbs 14-year-old grandson was also attacked.
"He just came in, he was on a rampage or something," said 14-year-old DeMarcus Abbs. "He was stomping on my chest. I tried to help my grandfather at the time, but I couldn’t."
The suspect, identified as Kenneth Brian Releford, then went back to his home a few doors down on Sampson Street.
When police arrived, they said they were directed to Releford’s home where an officer ordered him to come out with his hands up. HPD said the suspect kept one arm behind his back while yelling at them, ignoring the officer’s verbal commands.
Police said Releford kept approaching the officer with one arm hidden, and the officer fired his weapon twice. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
A neighbor spoke with the media after the incident and disputed the officer’s claims that Releford wasn’t listening to his commands. She also said the suspect had both his hands in the air.
"He called the boy to him, and when he called the boy to him the boy kept walking to him and he shot him – right there in the middle of the street on Sampson at Francis," one witness told the media. "Then the boy got up and staggered back toward Francis that way and the man said ‘Don’t run, come back here!’ and the boy started to come back and they shot him again."
No weapon was ever found.
"I can understand the situation where somebody come pounding on your door and stuff like that, you’ll call the police," said Releford’s father. "But that’s the only thing. When I look at the police, I would have used a Taser before I used my weapon, if I would have had the option."
The father said his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in early 2011 and he may have not been on his medications at the time of his death. He studied technology at Texas Southern University for two years before joining the Navy, according to his dad.
Police identified the shooting officer as J. Roseman. He’s been with HPD since November 2010 and is assigned to the South Central Patrol Division.
An investigation is ongoing.