Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Suspect shot HPD officer 4 times, prosecutor says

This is a follow up on the article below ref HPD Officer killed. The suspect was cought not long after the shooting.

As he ran through a northwest Houston apartment complex after being stopped on a traffic violation, Mabry Joseph Landor III turned and fired at the police officer who was chasing him, a Harris County prosecutor said in court this morning.

Houston police Officer Timothy Abernethy was hit by three bullets during that Sunday morning chase and dropped to the ground, Assistant District Attorney Craig Goodhart said.

And then Landor — who was released from his most recent prison sentence only a few months ago — walked up to the stricken officer and shot him in the head, Goodhart told state District Judge Michael McSpadden.

Later Sunday, after being caught and returned to the scene, Landor told police that his gun had fired accidentally after he tripped and fell, the prosecutor added.

That narrative of Abernethy's death emerged for the first time as Landor, 28, made his first court appearance to face a capital murder charge.

McSpadden appointed attorneys Chuck Hinton and Kenneth Goode to represent the suspect. He then granted their request that he prohibit police from trying to question Landor further about the incident.

Abernethy, a 43-year-old officer who had served 11 years with HPD, was killed while working in a high-crime area that has received intensified scrutiny from police.

He died near a playground at the Luxor Park apartment complex at 5801 W. Sunforest.

Landor was driving a Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicle when the officer stopped him on a traffic violation. Police say he later acknowledged that he had a pistol, which was prohibited under the terms set by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

After Abernethy keyed the Durango's license plate number into his car's computer, Landor got out and bolted into the apartment complex, police said.

Abernethy pursued and was hit by a fusillade of bullets fired by Landor, according to the probable-cause affidavit read in court today.

After shooting the officer one more time, Goodhart said, Landor 'calmly' walked back to the SUV and drove away.

He was captured later Sunday morning and returned to the apartments, where at least two eyewitnesses identified him as the officer's killer, the prosecutor said.

Landor gave a statement about the shooting and even tried to help police recover the pistol, which police say he claimed to have discarded within a few miles of the complex.

Landor made his brief court appearance in handcuffs, clad in a yellow Harris County Jail outfit that signifies high-risk prisoners.

He is being held without bail.

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