Spring break party ends in officer-involved gunfire at Houston hotel

By Mark Boyle, Reporter, mboyle@kprc.com
Published On: Mar 21 2014 05:17:03 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 21 2014 04:31:10 PM CDT

March 21, 2014: A spring break party turned violent when shots were fired. Mark Boyle reports.

HOUSTON -

Authorities are investigating an officer-involved shooting at a Spring Break party outside of a southwest Houston hotel.

Houston police say it all started at the Hotel Preet off the Southwest Freeway (Highway 59) near the Beltway at around midnight Friday. Officers were called to the hotel for a disturbance after shots were heard being fired in the parking lot.

"Officer Garza went to investigate and when he got up here to the front, he had probably 40 or 50 witnesses who were all pointing at one silver Jeep as being the shooter," said Kese Smith, a spokesperson for the Houston Police Department.

Witnesses say there were more than 100 teenagers at the party when the officer showed up to get things under control. Investigators say those who were armed did not want to give up.

When the officer tried to stop the Jeep, investigators say the driver sped up and tried to run over the officer.

"As he (the officer) approached the vehicle, he sees the front seat passenger reach up and produce a pistol and point it towards him," said Smith. "At that point, Officer Garza, fearing for his safety, discharged his duty weapon more than once striking the vehicle."

The Jeep took off, but did not get very far. It stopped at a Shell gas station less than a half a mile away because of a blown-out tire.

Houston police say two young suspects were taken into custody. Those teens have since been released and are not charged with any crime at this point.

No one was hurt during the incident.

Officer Garza was sworn in as an HPD officer in July 2006 and is assigned to the Westside Patrol Division.

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