Houston Officer 2 Weeks from Retirement Is Killed While Responding to Domestic Violence Call

Steve Helling
·2-min read

Houston Police Department

The city of Houston is mourning the death of a decorated veteran police officer who was fatally shot Tuesday while responding to a domestic violence call.

Sergeant Harold Preston, 65, responded to a domestic call at a Houston apartment complex on Tuesday morning. The 41-year veteran of the force was struck by several bullets after a suspect allegedly began shooting. According to KHOU-TV, he suffered multiple head wounds during the shooting and was also shot in the spine.

A second officer was shot during the call. Courtney Waller was shot in the arm, but is expected to fully recover.

Police identified the suspect as 51-year-old Elmer Manzano. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told KHOU-TV that Manzano had a "long criminal history," but did not elaborate. During the shootout, Manzano was shot in the abdomen and rushed to the hospital. He is expected to survive his injuries.

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The suspect’s teenage son was also wounded in the shooting, Acevedo told reporters, according to NBC News.

Officers were responding to a call from Manzano’s estranged wife, who told police she was trying to move out of the apartment but was unable to get inside to gather her belongings. While the officers talked with the woman in the parking lot, her teenage son allegedly unlocked the door and found his father holding a gun.

Acevedo told reporters that Manzano allegedly fired several rounds immediately, striking Preston in the head and spine. He was rushed to the hospital and died with his family surrounding him.

Manzano is being held without bond. The police department has not yet disclosed the charges he may be facing. Court documents do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.

In a press conference, Acevedo described Preston as a leader. "As good as he was as a cop, he was a better human being," Acevedo told reporters. "That is just the guy that he was, and we are going to miss him.”