01/09/2007

Houston officer fatally shoots hammer-wielding man

By Robert Crowe, Staff
The Houston Chronicle

A police officer shot and killed a man wielding a hammer Sunday after fellow officers' attempts to subdue him with a Taser and bean-bag shotgun failed, Houston police said.

The incident happened between 4 and 5 p.m. at a home in the 5000 block of Curtain, where police were called to help in a family dispute, said Houston Police Officer Gabe Ortiz.

"Officers were advised that a family member had threatened others with a hammer," he said. "When officers arrived, they managed to get the family out of the house."

The suspect remained inside for 30 minutes to an hour while police tried to talk him out of the house. A SWAT team was called in, but before it arrived three officers entered the home and the suspect charged them with the hammer, Ortiz said.

One officer discharged a shotgun with bean-bag pellets, but it did not stop the man.

"Apparently the man had three layers of clothing on," Ortiz said.

A second officer fired a Taser, but it failed.

"The suspect again charged at officers with hammer still in hand," Ortiz said. "At that point, the third officer discharged his duty weapon, striking suspect."

The man died at the scene. The shooting is under investigation.

Copyright 2007 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
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