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Harding Street raid victim's family, activists react to new federal charges

One activist still can’t understand why former HPD officers allegedly falsified search warrants based on phone calls in order to conduct the raid.

HOUSTON — Thanksgiving Day will mark 10 months since Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas died in their Harding Street home during a disastrous police raid.

Houston Police say 58-year-old Patricia Garcia was arrested Wednesday morning at home across the street for allegedly making fake 911 calls that helped lead to the raid.

RELATED: Who is the 911 caller in the Harding Street raid?

Witnesses said she was shoeless and disheveled when officers walked her out of her boyfriend's home.

"I got a call this morning," said Garcia's boyfriend's son, Tommy Arce. "That was a very big surprise when I received the call this morning from my sister telling me that and the reports that I read on the news.”

Arce said he doesn't know what beef Garcia may have had with Tuttle and Nicholas or why she would have made bogus calls.

"I think she is capable of doing that, though," Arce said.

RELATED: Harding Street raid | FBI arrests two former police officers, 911 caller on federal charges

Houston Police said it assisted the FBI in making Garcia's arrest.

"As I told the community before, we had reasons to initiate an investigation," said HPD Chief Art Acevedo. "And I think the fact that she’s arrested today speaks to the beginning of that investigation.”

Garcia is accused of falsely claiming Tuttle and his girlfriend were drug dealers and that they had machine guns and other weapons inside their home.

Community activist Hai Bui recalled an encounter with her early on.

“I came to her in the beginning, asking neighbors if I could do a vigil," Bui said. "And Pat Garcia was very vicious and said, 'No, get the heck out of here. I don’t want you guys here.'”

Bui still can’t understand why former HPD officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant allegedly falsified search warrants based on Garcia’s phone calls in order to conduct the raid which also injured a number of fellow officers.

"My question to Houstonians is: do you really feel safer right now?" Bui said. "I’ll be honest with you, I don’t, because this could happen to any Houstonian. A neighbor makes a call, a false call, a police officer lies, and boom, you’re dead.”

Acevedo said he cannot guarantee mistakes won't happen again, but the department is committed to making sure police operations are conducted appropriately.

"Even if they had a ton of heroin in that house, we’re still a nation of law,” Acevedo said.

An attorney for Dennis Tuttle's family sent this statement in reaction to new federal charges:

"The family of Dennis Tuttle has suffered, and is still suffering, a long and devastating ordeal. Their sense of loss, as well as their inability to make sense of what happened and why, are as raw today as they were on January 28. They are pleased to learn that the US Attorney is taking this action and to see that the wheels of justice are turning. The family still has very limited information. They still have very many unanswered questions, and like the rest of the world we are eager to see how this plays out in a court of law."


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