HOUSTON — A man accused of shooting two Houston police officers was officially charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder on Wednesday.
Elmer Manzano, 51, is accused of shooting and killing HPD Sgt. Harold Preston, 65, and shooting HPD Officer Courtney Waller in an incident at an apartment complex Tuesday morning. He is also charged with aggravated assault-serious bodily injury.
Manzano remains in the hospital Wednesday afternoon with a gunshot wound to the abdomen he sustained during the exchange of gunfire with officers.
Manzano also faces a federal charges. U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick announced Wednesday afternoon that Manzano has been charged with an alien in possession of a firearm and as a felon in possession of a firearm.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Sgt. Preston suffered multiple head wounds and a wound to his spine in the shooting. Waller was wounded in his arm during the incident.
Manzano’s 14-year-old son was also shot in the shoulder and is expected to be OK after he was treated at Texas Children’s Hospital. Acevedo said the son was wounded when his father opened fire on the officers.
The police chief said the incident started on Tuesday when officers responded to a domestic violence call just before 8 a.m. in the 2600 block of Holly Hall.
Officer Waller and Sgt. Preston – as well as another officer – responded to the scene. The officers met with the complainant, who was the estranged wife of suspect.
The officers talked with her in parking lot for about an hour. Acevedo said the woman wanted to get her belongings and move out.
Acevedo said just before 9:30 a.m., the suspect’s son opened the door with his keys to the apartment after Manzano refused to answer the door. When the son opened the door, Manzano was said to standing on the other side pointing a handgun at him and the officers.
When the officers saw the suspect pointing the gun at them, they reached for their handguns. Acevedo said that is when the suspect opened fire and shot multiple rounds at them.
The son was struck along with Sgt. Preston and Officer Waller. Acevedo said Sgt. Preston was able to get one shot off, hitting Manzano in the abdomen.
Then a call was sent out to assist the officers.
The responding officers were then able to remove Sgt. Preston and Officer Waller from the scene so they could be transported by an ambulance.
A good Samaritan who was nearby heard the gunshots and assisted with helping pull the wounded officers out of the line of fire.
Manzano then surrendered just before 10:30 a.m., the chief said. An elderly woman also came out of the apartment at that time.
Sgt. Preston was two weeks away from retirement, according to the police officers' union.
Chief Acevedo said in a news conference Tuesday that they would soon be planning his funeral.