Prosecutors to seek death penalty for man accused of fatally shooting Houston sergeant

Prosecutors to seek death penalty for man accused of fatally shooting police sergeant

HOUSTON — A man accused of shooting two Houston police officers -- one fatally -- was officially charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder on Wednesday, and prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

Elmer Manzano, 51, is accused of fatally shooting Houston Sgt. Harold Preston, 65, and wounding Officer Courtney Waller on Tuesday at an apartment complex in southwest Houston, KHOU reported. Manzano is also charged with aggravated assault-serious bodily injury, the television station reported.

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Manzano remains in an area hospital after being shot in the stomach by officers, KPRC reported.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her office will pursue the death penalty against Manzano, KTRK reported. Ogg said she based her decision not only on Preston’s death, but also on the injuries suffered by Waller and Manzano’s 14-year-old son, the television station reported.

Charges against Manzano, an undocumented Salvadoran national, have been filed for “being an alien in possession of a firearm,” according to a tweet by U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick. He said more charges could be added as the investigation continues.

Preston was a 41-year veteran of the Houston Police Department and was set to retire in two weeks, KHOU reported.

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said Preston suffered multiple head wounds and a wound to his spine during the shooting, according to the television station.

Waller was shot in the arm and is in stable condition at an area hospital, Acevedo told reporters.

According to police, the incident began as a disturbance call at around 8 a.m., according to KPRC. Officers arrived at the scene where they met a woman who said she was moving out and needed to retrieve her belongings, but that her husband, later identified as Manzano, would not let her in.

About 90 minutes later, the woman’s 14-year-old son opened the apartment door and Manzano came out and began shooting at the officers who returned fire, Acevedo said during a news conference Tuesday.

A SWAT team was called in, and Manzano surrendered, according to KPRC.