HOUSTON — A Houston FBI agent who shot and killed a kidnapping victim in 2018 lost his fight for dismissal from a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The family of Ulises Valladares is suing the unidentified agent because they want him held accountable for the shooting on Jan. 24, 2018.
Attorney Randall Kallinen, who is representing the family, is also calling for criminal charges in the case.
He’s asking Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to charge the agent with criminally negligent homicide – at the very least.
Armed intruders broke into the Conroe home of Valladares and tied up him and his 12-year-old son. They abducted Valladares and demanded a ransom, claiming Valladares' brother owed them money.
Valladares was taken to a home in Houston where an FBI team was brought in to help with the rescue.
Instead, an agent shot Valladares through a window, claiming the victim tried to grab his rifle. An investigation by HPD said the agent’s story didn’t match with the evidence.
Kallinen, wearing a mask that said “end the secrecy,” is angry that the agent’s identity hasn’t been released.
“Who is the killer who killed an innocent person on the taxpayers’ dime,” he asked at a news conference Tuesday.
Valladares’ son's legal guardian, Brooke Pearce, said the boy, now 14, doesn’t understand.
“There’s a lot of confusion. He has questions on where the right and wrong is in the world,” Pearce said. “This was the agency that was supposed to save his father and ultimately, they ended up ending his life.”
They say the heartbreak over the last two years hasn’t gone away as they wait for answers to what really happened the night Valladares was killed.
Two of the four kidnapping suspects have been sentenced to prison, and the other two are awaiting trial.
The FBI said they don’t comment on pending litigation.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office released the following statement:
“We share the family’s frustration. Houston-based federal authorities took control of the scene of the shooting, removed all the evidence, and literally left our Civil Rights prosecutors on the outside looking in. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas later exercised its sovereignty to review the incident, then determined it should recuse itself to avoid any conflict of interest, and placed the matter in the hands of authorities based in San Antonio.
"Those authorities late last year handed the case to our Civil Rights Division for the first time without explanation or charges being filed. As you know, Our Civil Rights Division is the same unit investigating the Houston Police shootings at Harding Street.
"It is our policy that in every instance in which a person is killed at the hands of a police agency, that our prosecutors go to the scene, that they independently review all the evidence, and that the present all of the evidence to a grand jury to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
"Grand jury investigations are currently backed up due to COVID, as is just about everything in the criminal justice system. As soon as grand juries are back in full swing, we’ll be able to confirm whether we do indeed have all the evidence so that grand jurors can make an informed decision as to whether any charges are warranted. The family and the people of Harris County deserve nothing less."