An investigation into the fatal shooting off a Houston police sergeant has found that his bullet-resistant vest did not fail as originally believed, rather the rounds struck the officer outside the armor, according to a Houston police department statement.
A preliminary probe into last week’s death of Sgt. Christopher Brewster had raised concerns that the fatal rounds had penetrated the so-called “soft body armor.”
But in a statement issued Wednesday night, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said further forensic examinations showed the department’s initial concerns “are unfounded.” At least one round struck Brewster between his belt and the bottom of the Level II soft-body armor vest, he said.
Brewster, 32, was shot and killed Saturday while responding to a domestic violence call in Magnolia Park in eastern Houston. As the officer was dying, he managed to radio in a description of the gunman. Police subsequently arrested 25-year-old Arturo Solis and charged him with capital murder of a police officer.
At Brewster’s funeral service, Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed Thursday as Sgt. Christopher Brewster Day in the city. He said the sergeant “made HPD better and made Houston safer.”
“We’re here not to honor the way he died, we’re here to honor the way he served and the way he lived,” the mayor said.
The killing had prompted Acevedo to criticize GOP U.S. senators, including John Cornyn and Ted Cruz from Texas, on Monday for failing to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” that can allow those with a history of dating violence legally purchase firearms.
The police chief accused the senators of caving to pressure from the National Rifle Association by not voting to pass the House-approved reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Cruz and Cornyn said the problem was more complex than that.
Acevedo’s comments also angered some rank-and-file officers, who accused him of politicizing Brewster’s death.
Acevedo responded by saying he was “not going to engage in a back and forth” with the senators, but acknowledged that his emotions “got the best of (him).”
He added: “I’m not sure that maybe it was not the time. But I had a lot of anger, and the anger is still here.”
Houston shooting:Police chief tears into GOP senators over gun laws
The sergeant’s death was the second for a Houston-area officer within a week. Nassau Bay police Sgt. Kaila Sullivan was killed Tuesday night while assisting in a traffic stop at an apartment complex.
Police were attempting to arrest 21-year-old Tavores Henderson after police discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for assault on a family member, Nassau Bay Police Chief Tim Cromie said.
Nassau Bay, with a population of around 4,000, is located about 25 miles southeast of Houston.
Police were in the process of handcuffing and arresting Henderson when he jumped into his vehicle and fled, striking Sullivan. The officer later died at a local hospital.
The vehicle was discovered abandoned. Authorities have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Henderson’s arrest, Crime Stoppers of Houston said.
Henderson is a Houston rapper who performs under the stage name Killah Dre.
Contributing: Associated Press