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Houston officers shot, suspect dead after standoff

Houston officers shot, suspect dead after standoff

May 8th, 2011 in News

HOUSTON (AP) - A man opened fire on two police officers Saturday, injuring them as part of a two-hour episode that began at a downtown Houston bus station and ended with the suspect found dead in a parking garage three blocks away, officials said.

The incident began about 5:15 p.m. Saturday when a Greyhound ticket agent checked the baggage of an unidentified man, saw an exposed handgun butt and alerted an off-duty police officer working security at the station, Houston Police spokesman John Cannon said.

Officer Fernando Meza, a two-year veteran of the force, followed the man outside, demanded his bag, then used a Taser in a failed effort to subdue the man, Cannon said. Instead, the man opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun, wounding Meza in the hand.

The gunman darted across the street to a McDonald's restaurant where he encountered Officer Timothy Moore, who was responding to a report of an officer in distress. There, his first gun empty, the man pulled another gun from his bag and fired at the 12-year police force veteran, wounding him in the leg, Cannon said.

Witnesses say they saw the man apparently bleeding from a wound to his side as he fled two blocks to the Amegy Bank parking garage, beside Interstate 45, and exchanged gunfire with arriving tactical unit officers as he darted inside, Cannon said.

Police closed the interstate and tactical officers searched and cleared each level of the multilevel garage. Officers found the unidentified man dead with a gunshot wound to the head at 7:05 p.m., Cannon said.

The freeway was reopened and the man's body taken to the Harris County medical examiner's office for autopsy and identification, he said.

"There were 80 to 100 patrons in the bus station waiting room or waiting to board their buses just outside," Cannon said, adding that it was nearly miraculous that no one else was injured and that neither police officer's wound appeared to be life-threatening. "That's why Officer Meza waited until the man was outside."