CYPRESS, TX – A deputy-involved shooting is being investigated by officials, per standard procedure, after two Harris County Sheriff’s fatally shot a suspect reportedly armed with a knife earlier in March.
Video of the incident was captured by a nearby witness at the time, but the publicly available versions of the video have edited out the moments leading up to and after the fatal shooting.
The Harris County sheriff said a deputy and a cadet trainee struggled with the suspect before a Taser was deployed followed by shots. https://t.co/DQKu4paQl4
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) March 18, 2021
According to officials, the incident occurred on March 17th within the 12900 block of Telge Road. Harris County Sheriff’s deputies had reportedly responded to calls of a man at a convenience store that was reportedly covered in blood, armed with a knife, and behaving erratically.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez noted during a press briefing regarding the incident that it’s unclear as to where the blood on the suspect’s body originated from.
A deputy and a cadet trainee, who is new to the department but has prior law enforcement experience, were the first to arrive on scene regarding the call. Responding deputies were said to have tried calming the suspect down, but the interaction escalated quickly.
The unnamed deputies were said to have tried deploying their Tasers on the suspect, but those attempts reportedly bore no affect on the suspect.
Available video captured by a witness, while heavily edited, shows the two deputies trying to control the suspects while he’s on the ground – which then a third deputy can be seen pulling up to assist in controlling the suspect.
Thereafter, officials allege that the suspect produced a knife while the third deputy on-scene was attempting to gain control of the suspect’s legs.
Currently available video from the incident does show deputies backing away and drawing down on the suspect before the frame is frozen to edit out the portion where the suspect was fatally shot.
Anson Johnson was the witness who recorded the video of the incident, saying the following about the moments leading up to the shooting:
“[You] see a gentleman run by and the cops were running behind him, then they Tased him. He fell into the street. Pretty much the rest of it you see from the footage I had caught.”
The witness further remarked on the incident, saying that before the deputies had deployed their Tasers on the deceased suspect, he believes that the suspect was simply trying to “get away” form the responding deputies:
“I feel like from what I’ve seen, and what I went back and watched on the video I took, he was trying to get away, he was, you know, fleeing.”
While it’s not exactly clear whether the suspect was experiencing some sort of mental health crisis during the incident, Sheriff Gonzalez stated during a press briefing that all of his deputies go through extensive training for such encounters:
“We spend a great deal amount of time and training and resources to make sure that all our deputies are properly trained in responding to individuals in crisis or mental illness.”
Taking to Twitter, Sheriff Gonzalez also reassured that as with all deputy-involved shootings, this incident will be investigated by officials:
“A full and thorough investigation is underway. Per standard protocol, each Deputy-Involved shooting is investigated by multiple parties including the DAs office, the Harris Co Institute of Forensic Sciences, and our agency. Our condolences go out to the deceased male’s family.”
A full and thorough investigation is underway. Per standard protocol, each Deputy-Involved shooting is investigated by multiple parties including the DAs office, the Harris Co Institute of Forensic Sciences, and our agency. Our condolences go out to the deceased male’s family. https://t.co/A116yIKcZh
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) March 17, 2021
The sheriff also acknowledged the existence of the witness video from the incident, while adding that the deputies were also wearing bodycams during the encounter with the suspect, which were apparently recording:
“We are aware of personal video footage of the scene. Also, our deputies wore Body-Worn cameras. All will be reviewed thoroughly. These situations are dynamic & split second decisions are made. As a situation unfolds, deputies do not have the benefit of pausing & rewinding footage.”
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) March 17, 2021
Despite having noted that the responding deputies were wearing bodycams during the incident, Sheriff Gonzalez did not make mention of when/if the bodycam footage will be made available to the public.
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In other recent news, a 20-year-old woman in Florida was recently arrested for allegedly hitting the Volusia County Sheriff as he was riding a bicycle.
The woman proclaimed that she thought she hit a mailbox when she fled from the incident earlier in March.
Here’s that previous report.
PORT ORANGE, FL — An inattentive motorist who was shopping on her phone while driving hit a sheriff on his bicycle and never bothered to stop and help him.
The hit-and-run incident in central Florida was caught on a truck’s dashcam. The victim of the collision, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, survived with injuries, and the motorist was later located and arrested.
“She did not hit a mailbox,” a deputy told 20-year-old Paige Bergman’s family after the crash. “Do you want to know what she hit? Mike Chitwood, the sheriff.”https://t.co/SWk95XIbuQ
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) March 19, 2021
According to law enforcement officials, the suspect, Paige Bergman, 20, was using her phone to shop on Amazon while driving Thursday. The footage shows the suspect’s vehicle hit Chitwood as he was riding his bicycle on the side of the road, but never stopped.
The young lady who hit me is in custody on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury. She says she was shopping on Amazon on her phone when she hit me. Please let this be a warning to put your phones down while you’re driving before you kill someone. pic.twitter.com/x1J3pISSk9
— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) March 19, 2021
The collision was caught on the dashcam of a Waste Pro truck that was traveling in the same direction behind the suspect. The driver of the truck, Allen Ramos, immediately pulled over to help the bicyclist and call 911.
Chitwood’s injuries included a broken leg bone, ten stitches in his back, road rash and a headache. However, he was behind his desk at work the next day.
According to WESH 2, officers located Bergman at her home in Deltona where she could be heard on police body camera video, at first, allegedly denying any knowledge of hitting a person.
“An accident? I hit a mailbox,” Bergman said in the footage.
Chitwood told WESH 2:
“She said she hit a mailbox. Now you were out there, there’s not a mailbox within a quarter of a mile of that road. I’ve been called a lot of things and mailbox isn’t one of them.”
Investigators say Bergman later told them she was using her phone to shop at the time of the crash. She was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash that caused serious bodily harm, according to Graham Media Group.
Graham Media Group also reported that online court records show Bergman was arrested in December on domestic battery charges. A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for April 6.
Chitwood implored people to pay attention:
“Just pull over. By fleeing and lying you make things, matters so much worse for you.”
The sheriff said he was very grateful to the truck driver and others who stopped to help and glad he wasn’t more seriously hurt because he’s lost friends in similar circumstances.
On Friday, Chitwood wrote in a Facebook post:
“Thank you all again for your messages and kind words. I have some road rash, a few stitches on the gash from the passenger side mirror and a fractured fibula that the doctors hope will heal on its own. I consider myself lucky to be back on my feet today.
“The young lady who hit me is in custody on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury. She says she was shopping on Amazon on her phone when she hit me.
“Please let this be a warning to put your phones down while you’re driving before you kill someone.
“I know this young woman had no intention of running me down. That’s what a lot of distracted drivers say after they cause a tragedy. Just imagine if that had been a child or an elderly person on that bike, or if the car drifted a couple more inches to the right.
— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) March 19, 2021
“To Allen Ramos, the WastePro truck driver who witnessed the crash, got it on video and pulled over to give me a hand: I will never forget what you did for me. There were several others who pulled over to help, too, and I appreciate each and every one of you.
“To every single deputy, detective, crime analyst and Port Orange police officer who played any role in this case yesterday, you each have my sincere appreciation for an outstanding job. I am so proud of the incredible work you do every day, and this is one more example of it.”
Volusia Co. Sheriff @SheriffChitwood thanks Waste Pro driver Allen Ramos for stopping yesterday and helping him when he got hit by a car on his bike in Port Orange. @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/Socc8IPv8w
— Molly Reed (@Mollyreednews) March 19, 2021
Chitwood was involved in another bicycle crash four years ago:
“I can’t explain that. I just know that I’m lucky.”
The crash in 2017 occurred in the area of Ponce Inlet, according to Graham Media Group. Chitwood suffered a broken hand and an ACL injury after he was struck by a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, officials said.
Also in 2017, Chitwood’s bicycle fell from his vehicle’s bike rack onto Interstate 95, damaging passing vehicles. No one was hurt in that incident, but three vehicles were damaged, the sheriff said.
In that incident, Chitwood said it was dark and he did not realize his bike fell off the rack until he arrived home. He said he searched for it in his neighborhood, but could not locate it.
According to Graham Media Group’s report, the sheriff called dispatch to report his bike fell off. Officials said a strap broke, causing the bike to fall off Chitwood’s Ford Taurus, which is owned by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Three active calls were made to 911 regarding the bike on the interstate that evening.
A Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman said at the time that the sheriff would not be ticketed because the accidents were caused by a broken strap, according to Graham Media Group’s report.
At the time, Chitwood said:
“Clearly, my bike came off the bike rack, I didn’t realize it until I got home because you can’t see, but thank God nobody is hurt.”
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Author: Gregory Hoyt