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Suspect in slaying of 65-year-old Houston police officer was illegal immigrant, authorities

“As good as he was a cop, he was a better human being,” the Houston police chief said of Sgt. Harold Preston.

Updated: October 21, 2020 - 11:44am

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The suspect in the fatal shooting Tuesday of a Houston police officer and wounding of another officer is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, according to authorities.

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed the arrest and officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement later told Fox News that the suspect was in the U.S. illegally.

The suspect has been identified as 51-year-old Elmer Manzano. 

Acevedo said he expects Manzano to be charged with murder in connection with the incident and that police have repeatedly responded to domestic calls at his home, according to the Associated Press.

The fallen officer has been identified as Sgt. Harold Preston, 65. He and the wounded officer were responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Preston was with the Houston police for 41 years.

Acevedo praised Preston’s decades of leadership “from the front.” 

He said Preston, who looked after his elderly parents, lived long enough for his family to get to the hospital.

“He is a hero,” Acevedo also said. “As good as he was a cop, he was a better human being.”

The wounded officer has been identified as Courtney Waller. He was shot in the arm and was last reported to be in stable condition at a hospital, according to the Associated Press. 

Waller has worked for the Houston police department for three years.

The incident occurred at about 8 a.m. when officers arrived to find a woman saying she was moving out of an apartment but that her ex-husband wouldn’t allow her to retrieve her belongings.

About 90 minutes later, the woman’s 14-year-old opened the apartment door and Manzano came out and began shooting at the officers who returned fire, Houston police said. Manzano and the teen were also wounded in the incident but are expected to survive.

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