Houston officer killed two weeks before retirement

Sgt. Harold Preston, who led 'from the front,' died at an area hospital with his family by his side.

A longtime Texas police officer just two weeks away from his retirement was shot and killed Tuesday while responding to a domestic violence call. 

Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston, 65, suffered multiple head wounds after the 41-year force veteran responded to a call at a local apartment complex. 

Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston (above), a 41-year-veteran of the force, died at an area hospital with his family by his side. His chief described him as an officer who led “from the front.”

The Washington Post is reporting that the suspect, Elmer Manzano, is in the United States illegally. The 51-year-old man also reportedly has a lengthy criminal record. 

The Post notes that ICE issued a statement calling Manzano a “convicted criminal alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S.” The agency has placed a detainer with Texas authorities seeking to take him into federal custody.

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Preston’s shooting occurred as officers tried to assist Manzano’s estrange wife, attempting to get her belongings from an apartment where police had been summoned previously for reported domestic abuse. The woman’s teenage son unlocked the door to the apartment, and his father started shooting. The son was also wounded in the attack, according to NBC News. 

Preston’s slaying immediately became a talking point for Trump administration officials, who were quick to claim 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.” 

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Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, told The Post that “this is an unrecoverable tragedy for the officer’s family that can never be fixed.” 

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that after sustaining his wounds, Preston died at an area hospital with his family by his side. He described Preston as an officer who led “from the front.” 

“He is leading with men and women on streets, instead of choosing to sit in an office drinking coffee and reading the paper,” said Acevedo. “That is the man he was — he is a man who lived with elderly parents to take care of them. As good as he was as a cop, he was a better human being. That is just the guy that he was, and we are going to miss him.”

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