HUMBLE, Texas – An off-duty Houston officer shot an armed robbery suspect in Harris County Wednesday afternoon, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
At about 3:06 p.m., HCSO tweeted that deputies were investigating the shooting at a Walmart store located in the northeast part of the county on the 9200 block of N. Sam Houston Parkway, reported Fox 26.
According to sheriff’s officials, an off-duty officer was nearby when a suspect pointed a firearm at a Walmart clerk who was working the customer service counter. As a result, the 17-year veteran of the Houston Police Department engaged the suspect and shot him. Once the armed robbery suspect was disarmed, the off-duty officer involved in the shooting provided emergency medical treatment.
No one else was injured in the shooting, officials said during a press conference. The wounded assailant was taken to Ben Taub Hospital for treatment of his injuries. He is listed in stable condition, according to authorities.
“Unfortunately this individual was shot because of what he did, but our officer did everything she could do not only to protect the public but also to protect him once he was shot so I think today she’s a hero for what she did,” said Houston Police Assistant Chief Bobby Dobbins, click2Houston reported.
People who were shopping inside the store at the time of the shooting heard the gunfire and panicked.
“We all started running to the back and we saw a worker telling us to come back to the storage room, ran out the back of the store so we ran to safety across the street,” said Lenethia Jefferson.
The suspect was identified as Antonio Washington, according to the Houston Police Officers’ Association.
Houston POA offered some additional insight regarding the suspect:
Antonio Washington is on Deferred Adjudication for three prior violent aggravated robberies. He received 10 years probation in November of 2019, by Judge Hilary Unger of Harris County’s 248th District Court. Within less than a month of receiving probation, Washington escaped from a correctional facility and went on the run. A felony warrant was filed for his arrest and three more felony warrants were filed from the prior aggravated robbery cases.
Yesterday, armed with a shotgun, Antonio Washington attempted to rob a NE Harris County Walmart. Fortunately for the innocent employees and customers, a plainclothes Houston Police officer was inside of the Walmart. Our officer engaged with the armed suspect (Washington). He was shot and disarmed. Our officer then provided first aid to him. This just goes to show the mindset and integrity of our officers. Washington was then transported to a local hospital and faces numerous charges related to yesterday’s aggravated robbery. Thanks to the heroic actions of our officer, the threat of Antonio Washington killing or seriously injuring anyone was neutralized.
Houston POA concluded their Facebook post saying the incident could have been avoided had Washington remained incarcerated. They continued, “Antonio Washington pleaded guilty to three violent commercial aggravated robberies in Judge Hilary Unger’s court. He could have been sentenced anywhere from 5 to 99 years in prison. Instead, he was given deferred adjudication and let back out to victimize more innocent people.”
The police in Houston are echoing the same tune that police officers in every corner of the country are repeating; violent offenders are being prematurely released from custody. As a result, citizens inevitably pay the price.