A suspect accused of shooting two Houston police officers Tuesday, killing one, is not a legal resident of the United States, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs. He was also involved in a domestic incident Sunday, according to a police report, but was not arrested.
Elmer Rolando Manzano has a criminal history dating back to 1994 that includes arrests for felony assault, jail time, and protective orders through 2004. Since Sunday, Manzano’s estranged wife had twice called police alleging domestic violence, but in neither case was the suspect charged or taken into custody, the Texan reports.
On Tuesday morning, Sergeant Harold Preston and two other Houston police officers responded to a domestic disturbance, police say. After speaking with Manzano’s estranged wife, the officers and Manzano’s 14-year-old son approached the apartment. Manzano allegedly shot at the group, killing Sgt. Preston, and wounding Officer Courtney Waller and his own son.
Manzano was also struck in the abdomen by return fire and is hospitalized in Houston.
Despite Manzano’s criminal history and jail time, he does not seem to have been identified as a candidate for deportation. It is unclear as to whether ICE was notified after Manzano’s previous arrests and incarceration.
Sources told KPRC 2 Investigates that Border Patrol first encountered Manzano in Brownsville, Texas, in 1989. He was released with a future immigration court date. He was granted temporary protective status in 1991, and that status expired in 1994. He was issued work authorization, but that authorization expired on Dec. 20, 2000.
Controversy regarding the previous calls to law enforcement for Manzano also riled critics of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, including Republican Mary Nan Huffman who is challenging incumbent DA Kim Ogg in the 2020 election.
Huffman sent out a press release late Tuesday accusing the DA of declining charges related to a call on October 18, 2020 and blaming Ogg for leaving a gun in the hands of the suspect.
On an incident report from that day, the responding officer wrote, “I contacted Harris County District Attorney Office and spoke with A.D.A. White who decline [sic] charges at this time.” At the end of the report, the officer wrote, “no crime occurred, no threats, no assault, only verbal.”
In response to Huffman’s accusations, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office sent KPRC the following statement:
“The only person responsible for this horrible crime is the killer himself and any attempt to blame prosecutors is sadly political and not factual. The officers in these cases didn’t believe that a crime had occurred and that left no evidence on which to base any charges.”