Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo/(Image source: KHOU-TV video screenshot)
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Two civilians were killed and five police officers were injured in the botched operation
A former Houston police officer has been charged with murder, accused of lying to obtain a warrant for a January raid that left a middle-aged couple dead and five officers wounded.
What are the details?
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday that ex-cop Gerald Goines has been charged with two counts of felony murder, based on findings from the Houston Police Department's own internal investigation.
Relying on information provided by Goines, the HPD conducted a no-knock raid in order to serve a search warrant at the home of civilians Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, early this year. By the time it was over, four officers were shot — two critically injured — a fifth officer suffered a knee injury, and Tuttle and Nicholas were dead.
Reason reported that according to police, "the gunfire began after the first officer through the door used a shotgun to kill the couple's dog." A search of the residence found no evidence of drug dealing or heroin — the purpose of the raid — although KTXA-TV reported that police did find "small amounts of marijuana and cocaine at the home."
Friends and family of the couple have repeatedly insisted Tuttle and Nicholas were not criminals, but lived quiet lives and were animal lovers.
An investigation was launched, and the HPD determined Goines falsified the search warrant affidavit, by claiming that an informant had purchased heroin at the Tuttle/Nicholas home. Goines later admitted that there was no informant, and that he himself had made a purchase at the residence.
According to NBC News, Goines also indicated in the warrant that his partner at the time, Steven Bryant, "had identified heroin bought at the home. But Bryant later allegedly told investigators he had retrieved heroin from Goines' police car."
Bryant was also charged Friday, with one count of tampering with a government record. Goines and Bryant both retired after the botched raid.
Both former officers were expected to surrender to authorities late Friday afternoon.
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