The suspect arrested in the killing of a Houston police sergeant is an illegal immigrant, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday.
Elmer Manzano was eventually taken into custody after police responded to a call of a domestic dispute, but not before Sgt. Harold Preston, 65, who was weeks away from retirement, was shot. Preston died of his injuries.
“Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez, 51, is a citizen of El Salvador and convicted criminal alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S. On Oct. 20, officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Houston, Texas, placed an immigration detainer with the Harris County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) on Manzano-Martinez after he was arrested for murder,” ICE said in a statement to The Texan.
Manzano’s arrest record includes allegations of assault and domestic violence dating from 1994 to 2002.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, linked that history to this week’s tragedy.
“The killing of this police officer and violence in this household were entirely preventable crimes that could have been avoided had this person been deported at times of previous convictions,” Cuccinelli told The Washington Post. “This is an unrecoverable tragedy for the officer’s family that can never be fixed.”
The news stirred emotions on Twitter.
Good news. https://t.co/qZdcnTcx6Q
— Protect Our Police PAC (@PolicePac) October 21, 2020
Biden wants more killers to come to US The problem with illegals is unless they enter the right way you don’t know about their violent criminal history until too late
— Suze Michelini (@emilia_suze) October 21, 2020
Illegal immigrant in Houston allegedly shoots and kills one police officer and wounds another – Pray for these officers/families https://t.co/UiIwKPgiKz #tcot #ccot #tlot #lnyhbt #reason #logic #God #JC #J #usa # #teaparty #commonsense #philosophy
— Steve Williams (@HISteveWilliams) October 21, 2020
Suspect in killing of Houston police sergeant is in United States illegally, ICE says https://t.co/OykEYtujv3
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) October 21, 2020
Police had been called to Manzano’s residence twice in recent days before the fatal shooting of Preston, a 41-year-veteran, but no charges were filed.
Those of us who knew, loved, & respected Sgt. Harold Preston knew him to be a wonderful, courageous, and humble servant, from an amazing family.
While many may never say his name, or honor his life of selfless service, we will never forget. RIP kind hero, we will celebrate you. pic.twitter.com/3U370XNsFc
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) October 20, 2020
In the incident in which Preston was killed, Manzano and his 14-year-old son were injured in an exchange of gunshots, authorities said. Houston officer Courtney Waller was also wounded.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said officers had previously spoken with Manzano’s estranged wife, who told officers she wanted to take her things from the apartment they had shared. Police then went to speak to Manzano.
The 14-year-old unlocked the door of the apartment and reportedly told police his father had a firearm. Manzano then allegedly fired.
HPD holding presser. Officer killed was Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year vet of the department. The other officer, Courtney Waller, was shot in arm. pic.twitter.com/ck5ngkY0eG
— St. John Barned-Smith ⚔️ (@stjbs) October 20, 2020
According to KIII-TV, Manzano was first arrested in 1994 for the alleged unlawful carrying of a firearm. The charge was dismissed after deferred adjudication, the outlet reported, citing Dallas County court records.
In 2000, Manzano was twice arrested for alleged assault and sentenced to six months in jail each time.
These incidents were followed by a May 2001 arrest for alleged felony assault. After two years of deferred adjudication, the case was dismissed.
Manzano was sentenced to 120 days in jail after pleading guilty in December 2002 to evading arrest with a motor vehicle. A protective order was issues against him was issued in 2004.
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