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Family of dead police officer claims HPD blocked mental health check

Houston police officer Alton Holmes died by apparent suicide Sunday while under criminal investigation.

HOUSTON — The family of a Houston Police officer who died by apparent suicide claims H-P-D interfered with a mental health check of their relative before his death.

Officer Alton Holmes, 54, was under investigation for allegedly molesting a child and criminal charges were pending before he apparently took his own life Sunday, according to HPD. 

On Friday, Holmes’ sister Kathi Schlinger said she got a call from their mother worried about suicidal comments her brother made. She said she immediately called the Harris County Sheriff’s office assigned to his criminal case.

“And if he met criteria, they were going to get him the help that I was requesting,” Schlinger said. “Whatever that meant it was going to make sure he was safe and he didn’t hurt himself.”

Under Texas law, a peace officer can take a person into custody who shows serious harm to himself or others for further evaluation at a mental health facility.

Schlinger said two days later, Holmes took his own life. The body of the 14-year HPD veteran was found in a field just a few blocks from his Montgomery County home.

The Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable Office confirmed that the Harris County Sheriff’s detective had initiated a call to their office and the Houston Police Department Friday about Holmes potentially harming himself. But specially-trained deputy constables in the mental health division never made it to Holmes’ house.

“Our agency was contacted and in direct communication with HPD where it was decided HPD would make contact with their officer and our office cancelled our call,” said a statement from the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable Office.

Schlinger said after her brother’s death, she followed up with a sergeant at the constable’s office.

“And he told me very clearly that he had a team heading to his house to assess my brother, and they got a call from someone in HPD and they told the team to stop, stand down, we’re going to take care of our own,” Schlinger said.

An HPD spokesperson said the department had no comment beyond a Tweet the department issued Monday evening, which only confirmed the apparent suicide and criminal investigation into Officer Holmes.

The statement from the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable said in follow up communications, HPD confirmed their agency did make contact with Officer Holmes.

But Schlinger said a review of Ring doorbell footage from her brother’s home showed HPD never came to the door.

“Nobody came to this house after my phone call that’s what I can tell you for a fact,” she said.

Schlinger, who is a registered nurse, said pending criminal charges should have no impact on mental health services for someone in need.

“We’re still human beings and if someone’s in crisis, they deserve help before they deserve to be dead,” she said.

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