Southeast Houston, Texas – On Monday at around 5 p.m. a search warrant service on narcotics suspects ended in gunfire that wounded four officers, and killed two suspects (as well as their dog). Another officer who was not shot suffered a knee injury. There were only 2 suspects, not three as originally reported.
The incident stemmed from neighbors who reported to police that they thought the people at the residence (7815 Harding) were dealing drugs. An investigation revealed that Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were dealing black tar heroin** out of their home.
On Monday, about 9 narcotics officers and 6 patrol officers attempted to serve a search warrant at the residence. As they breached the door, a pit bull attacked first, and that first officer fired a round from his shotgun. Then officers came under fire from semi-automatic gunfire inside the residence.
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According to reports, Tuttle at first retreated, but returned with a .357 magnum and shot the officer with the shotgun in the shoulder. As he fell on the couch, Nicholas attempted to get his gun. She was shot by other officers, as Tuttle engaged in a firefight with police.
Police seized two shotguns, and three rifles in addition to the .357. While they found no black tar heroin in the residence, they did find marijuana and white powder, which they stated could be cocaine or fentanyl.
Dallas News reported,
Of the injured officers, the 54-year-old leader of the team had been shot three previous times in a 32-year career, Acevedo said. Another officer, a 50-year-old who was shot in the face, was expected to be released soon from the hospital, along with another 50-year-old officer who hurt his knee.
A fourth officer still hospitalized asked police to keep his condition confidential, Acevedo said.
“I can tell you he’s in a fight. He’s stable, but he needs prayers,” Acevedo said.
The 4th officer shot in the shoulder has been released from the hospital. Due to the nature of their jobs, their names will not be released.
The 54 year old team leader who breached the door standardly goes in last. But when he saw his team was in trouble, he entered the house.
“He immediately knew his partners were down and he made entry. When he made entry, he got shot. You know your brother’s down, your sister’s down, you go in, and that’s what they did.” Chief Art Acevedo during the press conference
One aside: Chief Acevedo lambasted the press during the news conference on Monday evening because someone from one of the stations learned the name of an officer and went to their home. Because narcotics officers are under cover, that could very well have placed the officer at risk. He told reporters that such behavior was unacceptable and could have serious consequences.
Black Tar heroin:
** The addiction center reports that Black tar heroin is a crude form of heroin that is black and sticky in appearance. Also called “Mexican black tar heroin” because of its favor with Mexican drug cartels. It’s not only cheap, but transported in smaller batches. The process of making black tar heroin makes it cheaper to produce and to buy, but it also makes the heroin less pure and more dangerous. It has the same effects as white powdered heroin. It is easy to overdose because people think it’s not as powerful as the white powder, but that can lead to death.
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