01/17/2008

Texas suspect shot by police after pointing gun

By Mike Glenn
The Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON, Texas — A man wanted for sexual assault of a child remained in critical condition Wednesday after being shot several times by Houston police who said he pointed what appeared to be a pistol at them.

Jose R. Ayala, 21, is being treated at Ben Taub General Hospital.

Police said he led them on a chase Tuesday in southeast Houston that ended with gunfire in the 2000 block of Santa Rosa near Lawndale.

The incident began when patrol officers stopped Ayala's sport utility vehicle on Navigation at Harrisburg to arrest him on the sexual assault warrant.

"The suspect pulled over. As the officers approached the vehicle, the suspect began to flee," said HPD spokesman Gabe Ortiz.

Officers placed spikes along the road before he drove away. But even with a deflated front right tire, Ayala escaped. His vehicle eventually came to a stop on Santa Rosa at Lawndale.

That's when police said Ayala pulled what appeared to be a weapon, but was later determined to be a BB gun.

HPD officials said eight officers began firing at Ayala. He turned and ran, while continuing to point what looked like a semiautomatic pistol at them.

The officers again confronted Ayala as he tried to force his way into a home about a half-block away from his abandoned vehicle, police said.

The officers fired a second time.

The officers who fired were all HPD veterans with at least a decade on the force. HPD officials identified them as G. Rodriguez, J.A. Cantu, M.T. Romero, T.D. Haase, J.B. Byrd, J.L. Thomas, Sgt. R. Rodriguez and A.C. DeAlejandro.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Harris County District Attorney's Office and detectives with HPD's homicide and internal affairs divisions.

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

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