Houston, TX – Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo released the names of the two people who were killed in a gunfight with Houston police during a narcotics warrant service on Monday night.
Records at the Harris County Clerk’s office showed that 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and his wife, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, had lived at the home where the gun battle occurred for at least 20 years, KHOU reported.
Chief Acevedo told reporters at a press conference that neighbors had tipped off law enforcement about drug activity at that address.
Prior to officers approaching, they loudly announced themselves and used their police sirens.
The chief said a group of 15 undercover narcotics officers made entry to the home just before 5 p.m. on Jan. 28 and “immediately came under fire.”
“The first officer through the door, armed with a shotgun, was charged immediately by a very large pit bull,” Chief Acevedo said. “The officer discharged rounds, and we know the dog was struck and killed.”
Simultaneously, Tuttle came from somewhere in the back of the house and opened fire on the officer with a .357 Magnum revolver, KHOU reported.
The officer was hit.
“That officer was struck in the shoulder. He went down, fell on the sofa in the living room, at which time a female suspect went towards that officer, reached over the officer and started making a move for his shotgun,” Chief Acevedo explained to reporters.
Backup arrived at that point and opened fire, fatally shooting Nicholas.
As a gun battle ensued with Tuttle, some officers laid down cover fire while other officers “heroically pulled their fellow officers out of harm’s way,” Chief Acevedo said.
Tuttle was killed in the gunfight.
Four officers were shot, and another officer seriously injured his knee, during the incident.
Chief Acevedo told reporters that he would not be releasing the officers’ names because they all work undercover and doing so would jeopardize ongoing court cases.
A 54-year-old, 25-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was shot in the face and was in stable condition and doing well, the chief said.
A 50-year-old, 27-year veteran sergeant of the police force was operated on by orthopedic trauma surgeons on Monday night, KHOU reported.
A 33-year-old, 10-year veteran of the police department was shot in the shoulder and was treated and released.
A 54-year-old, 32-year veteran of the department was shot in the face as he ran into the house to help other injured officers, Chief Acevedo said.
“He wrote a note this morning saying, ‘I had to go in there because I knew my guys were down,'” the chief told reporters.
Chief Acevedo said it was the third time the officer had been shot in the line of duty.
He remains in critical condition and doctors said he faced several more surgeries soon.
The fifth officer who was shot was not identified to the media at the request of their family, the chief said.
That officer is in critical condition, according KHOU.