Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The Houston Police Department has released the inventory of items seized during the execution of the no-knock raid where 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and his wife, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas were shot and killed. The raid occurred on January 28, 2019.
The married couple of 20 years died in a gun battle with police where four officers were wounded, and one was injured while taking cover.
The couple had no criminal records. They had occupied the house for 20 years. Rhogena was as a supporter of President Trump. Dennis was a Navy veteran.
The gun battle started when the police broke down their door and shot their dog. The wife, Rhogena, was unarmed when killed. Police claim she was going for a shotgun held by a wounded officer.
There were no body cameras worn on the raid. Neighbor’s surveillance video was taken by the police.
The guns listed are unremarkable in every way. They are:
- A 12 gauge model 1100 semi-automatic shotgun, commonly used for target shooting, hunting, and home defense.
- A Winchester 190 semi-automatic .22 rimfire, a popular and inexpensive hunting, and plinking gun. They are no longer manufactured.
- A Remington 700 bolt action rifle chambered in 7mm magnum, a popular hunting rifle and cartridge.
A 20 gauge shotgun is listed as a “Beretta ALS.” I have not found a Beretta of that model, but CZ makes an ALS model that looks a lot like the Beretta semi-automatics. ALS is sometimes used as an abbreviation for Auto Loading Shotgun. Here is the inventory document released from the Houston Police Department:
Missing from the inventory of guns is the .357 revolver that Dennis Tuttle was supposed to be using in his gunfight with the officers who broke into his house, and killed his dog and wife.
Wounding four officers with a .357 revolver would be exceptional gunfighting. Some shooters can do it. Dennis Tuttle was an Air Force veteran, and, it seems likely, a hunter. Given the lack of a revolver from the inventory, my suspicion is he used a shotgun to defend his home. That and the use of buckshot or birdshot would explain the four wounded officers. Also missing is any 9mm pistol, the possession of which was used in the warrant to justify the no-knock raid.
Apologists for the raid have said the informant could have misidentified the .357 for a 9mm. That could be, but there is no pistol or revolver to be found on the inventory list. Here is a link to the warrant from ABC13.
The drugs that were reported to be found at home are not the quantity associated with drug dealing. A local attorney noted that no drug paraphernalia was listed on the inventory. From abc13.com:
“There’s nothing identified in search warrant return as scales or baggies, or anything that would be used to distribute heroin or any other drugs for that matter,” Zuniga said.
As for the gram of cocaine and 18 grams of marijuana found, Zuniga said, “It’s not the amount of drugs that would be associated with distribution. I think in this case the officer probably relied on an unreliable informant.”
No-knock raids are inherently dangerous for the suspects and the officers involved. They eliminate one of the primary reasons for search warrants, which is to assure the suspects the search is legally allowed, and the suspects will have access to the courts.
To accomplish that purpose, the warrant has to be presented to the suspects, and they have to be allowed to read it.
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.