HOUSTON, Texas (KETK) – Prosecutors have charged a former Houston police officer with two counts of felony murder in connection with a deadly January no-knock raid that left two people dead and several Houston police officers wounded.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the charges at a press conference Friday afternoon.
The raid came under scrutiny after allegations surfaced that the lead investigator, Gerald Goines, had falsified the affadavit justifying the raid that led to the deadly shooting.
Goines was one of the four officers who were shot in the January 28 gunfight that killed 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, who both lived in the home. A fifth officer injured his knee during the shooting.
Another officer was charged with tampering with a government record.
Former Houston Police Sergeant Steven Bryant is accused of lying in a supplemental report filed two days after the raid.
“Prosecutors have been and are currently going through 14,000 different cases related to these officers, and I can tell you after having talked with our leadership, amongst ourselves, we have not seen a case like this in Houston,” Ogg said in the Friday press conference announcing the charges.
“Our charges that are result of the Houston Police Department’s investigation,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. “So, yes, we can investigate ourselves and yes, we did pursue the good, the bad, and the ugly as we promised this community.”
“So, where we go from here is to continue to do what we do at this department, which is to hold ourselves accountable, to make ourselves better, and, obviously, to do what I think we do best, which is try to continue to keep this community safe,” Acevedo said.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to this, but at the end of the day, when somebody lies to obtain a search warrant, that’s a problem,” he said.
In the search warrant that was used to justify entering the home, officers with HPD’s narcotics unit had alleged that a confidential informant had bought heroin at the house the day before the Jan. 28 raid. The informant had also allegedly seen a handgun in the home.
But in the investigation of the raid afterward, the informant said he had not been involved in a drug buy at the home. The heroin allegedly bought at the home had been obtained elsewhere.
Family and friends of Tuttle and Nicholas have continuously dismissed allegations the couple sold drugs. Police found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine in the home but no heroin.