HOUSTON — Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, once again Friday, vehemently defended his officer who shot and killed an armed suspect Thursday evening.
“We’re not going to stand by and let people make stuff up," the chief said.
He said Officer J. Goff, an African-American who’s been on the force less than two years, was alone when he responded to a call about a man with a gun in south Houston.
He “tried desperately for five minutes to control this suspect,” the chief said at a Friday afternoon news conference.
Acevedo played two 911 calls from witnesses.
The first call came from a man reporting a black male with a gun at a bus stop near Scott and Mt. Pleasant streets.
Dispatch: "Houston 911. Do you need medical, police or fire?"
Caller: "An officer needs help, they are trying to jump him."
A cell phone video from a different witness in a nearby vehicle shows Officer Goff and the suspect. The video shows the suspect, a 30-year-old man whose name hasn’t been released, walking toward the officer and ignoring orders to stop.
Officer Goff was on his radio screaming for backup and said he could see a gun in the man’s hoodie.
The video shows the officer circling his vehicle as he continued to plead with the suspect to stand down.
When the suspect appeared to reach for the gun, Acevedo said, Officer Goff opened fire, striking the suspect at least once. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
A second 911 call played Friday came from a distraught woman and man who witnessed the whole thing. They desperately pleaded with the dispatcher to send help for the officer. At one point, the man screamed at the officer to shoot the suspect.
Both appeared to be in tears after the shooting.
Acevedo said the gun was a BB gun replica of a 9 mm Beretta.
The chief said reports that the suspect had his hands up when he was shot were wrong. He said he watched the incident, which was recorded on the officer's bodycam, and those claims were a "patent lie."
The cell phone video from the witness confirmed the suspect’s hands were never in the air as he approached the officer.
WARNING: The following 911 calls from the officer-involved shooting include strong language not suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.
A witness who recorded another cell phone video says he still has questions.
“I felt like from where I was, it was wrong. He didn’t have a right to shoot," said John Wilson, who was at the scene.
But the chief says the suspect did. HPD was responding to a call of a man with a weapon, and police say he repeatedly refused commands.
He believes it may have been suicide by cop.
Maybe this is an outcome he was trying to force and sadly, it happened," said Chief Acevedo.“
The suspect's common-law wife was on the phone with him at the time.
“I did hear him say, 'What did I do to get put on the ground?'" said Nikia Emmit.
The medical examiner has not released the suspect’s name. The man identified by that common law wife does have a criminal history. Court records show he was convicted in 2009 of shooting a child with a BB gun.
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