Houston, Texas -(Ammoland.com)- The lead investigator and long term Houston Police Department undercover narcotics Officer Gerald Goines lied to obtain a no-knock warrant. The no-knock warrant lead to the death of a middle-aged couple, their dog, and the wounding of four officers, at 7815 Harding Street on 28 January 2019. From abc13.com:
The search warrant clearly shows the initial information used to obtain the no-knock search warrant involved a number of lies.
In the original warrant obtained on Jan. 28, the lead case agent, Officer Gerald Goines, wrote that a confidential informant bought heroin at the house the day before the drug raid. The informant also allegedly saw heroin and a weapon, which appeared to be a 9mm handgun, as he was buying the suspected drugs at the house.
In that warrant, the informant allegedly returned to Goines with a brown powder substance, telling him that it was called “boy,” which is slang for heroin. The confidential informant also said the substance he allegedly bought at the home was packed in a large quantity of plastic baggies.
The Houston no-knock raid was characterized as an ambush by drug dealers. The evidence did not support that conclusion.
The two homeowners killed had no criminal record. Dennis Tuttle was a Navy veteran. His wife, Rhogena Nicholas, was a supporter of President Trump. They had been married for 20 years and lived in their modest home in Houston for the same 20 years.
The gun battle started when police broke down their door and shot their dog. Dennis started shooting back, wounding the officer that shot his dog.
Police claim Rhogena attempted to take a shotgun from the wounded officer.
They shot and killed her. Dennis continued to fight, wounding three more officers. It is unclear what firearm he used.
The exact timing of events is uncertain because no officers were wearing body cameras. Surveillance video from the house next door was confiscated by the police.
Police Chief Acevedo has previously talked about the officers “laying down covering fire”. We do not know how many indiscriminate rounds were fired, or when, precisely Dennis Tuttle and his wife Rhogena were shot and killed. From abc13.com:
“After we had two officers down and another shot, the remaining officers … started laying down cover fire, left positions of cover themselves and, I believe, they heroically pulled their fellow officers out of harm's way,” Acevedo said.
Originally, the police claimed Dennis used a .357 magnum revolver. No revolver showed up on the inventory of items seized from the house after the raid. No Heroin was found. No “large quantities” of drugs in plastic baggies were found.
In addition to long term narcotics officer Goines, another officer has been suspended. His name has not been released.
Good forensics could clear up many of the unanswered questions in this case. What was the sequence of events? Who fired what, when, and where. Who was shot by who, when?
The only thing we know for certain is that lies were made to obtain a no-knock warrant. A gun battle resulted. Two innocent homeowners are dead, and four police were wounded.
A small amount of drugs were reported to be found at the house, along with four firearms, such as exist in over half the households in Texas.
As drugs were lied about (and small quantities were found in the lying officer's vehicle), can we trust the drugs found at the house, in two small baggies, were not planted by an officer, to cover the botched raid?
Many police, as well as other citizens, are angry over the corruption and needless loss of life. Actions such as this corrode the fabric of a free society.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.