HOUSTON — An illegal immigrant from El Salvador was in custody Tuesday after a Houston police sergeant was shot and killed and an officer was wounded at a southwest Houston apartment complex, authorities said.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed the arrest and officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) later told Fox News that the suspect was in the U.S. illegally.
The slain officer was identified as Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year veteran of the force.
“We’ve lost just a wonderful human being,” Acevedo said during a news conference at Memorial Hermann Hospital. “He is leading with men and women on streets, instead of choosing to sit in an office drinking coffee and reading the paper. That is the man he was — he is a man who lived with elderly parents to take care of them. As good as he was as a cop, he was a better human being, that is just the guy that he was and we are going to miss him.”
Those of us who knew, loved, & respected Sgt. Harold Preston knew him to be a wonderful, courageous, and humble servant, from an amazing family.
While many may never say his name, or honor his life of selfless service, we will never forget. RIP kind hero, we will celebrate you. pic.twitter.com/3U370XNsFc
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) October 20, 2020
The wounded officer, identified by Mayor Sylvester Turner as Courtney Waller, is a three-year veteran of the department who was shot in an arm. He was expected to recover.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) October 20, 2020
The suspect was identified as Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez, 51. ICE officials identified him as a “convicted criminal alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.”
Following his arrest Tuesday, ICE officials from the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) unit placed an immigration detainer with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, ICE said in a statement.
ICE lodges detainers against suspects who have been arrested on criminal charges and who ICE has probable cause to believe are removable aliens, the agency statement said. The detainer requests that a state or local law enforcement agency notify ICE in advance if the suspect will be released.
Police said Manzano-Martinez was shot in the abdomen area and was stable, Law Officer reported. He was expected to be charged with murder, Acevedo said.
Acevedo said the officers were responding to a domestic violence call around 8:15 a.m. Manzano-Martinez’s estranged wife told Preston, 65, Waller and another officer that she was moving out of the apartment and needed to get some items inside.
The Houston Police Officer’s Union tweeted Preston was weeks away from retirement. He was sworn into the department on Aug. 25, 1979, the union said.