Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was shot and killed on Tuesday (October 20) after responding to a domestic violence call at the 2600 block of Holly Hall and El Rio.
Preston was joined by officers Courtney Waller, a 3-year veteran of HPD and a 5-year veteran officer when the trio met the estranged wife of 51-year-old Elmer Manzano. The wife had called police on her husband and informed them she was moving out and wanted to get items from the apartment where the two were staying but the front door was locked. Police said when Manzano’s 14-year-old son unlocked the front door, Manzano opened fire, striking Preston several times in the head.
Walker was shot in the arm and is expected to make a full recovery. Manzano’s 14-year-old was struck in the arm and was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital.
Manzano was charged with capital murder of a police officer on Wednesday (October 21), along with additional charges of attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated assault with bodily injury.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement on Preston’s death.
“Our hearts are with the family of Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston, who was shot and killed in the line of duty this morning. This tragic loss is a grave reminder of the dangers our brave law enforcement officers face while keeping our communities safe. Cecilia and I ask our fellow Texans to join us in lifting up Sgt. Preston’s family in prayer in their time of need. We also ask all Texans to pray for the speedy recovery of Houston Police Officer Courtney Waller who was shot while responding to the same incident and is recovering in the hospital. The state stands ready to assist the Houston Police Department in bringing to justice the perpetrators of this horrific tragedy.”
“Heartbroken over the loss of Sergeant Harold Preston who bravely served our community for over four decades,” >Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “Our thoughts go out to his family, the entire Houston Police Department, and all who served with him as he kept our community safe.”
Preston was surrounded by his mother, his 23-year-old daughter, his fianceé and his ex-wife when he passed away at the hospital. He was on the verge of retirement after committing four decades of his life to public service as an officer. He was sworn into duty on August 25, 1979, and had recently purchased a motorcycle to celebrate his retirement.
“He is a hero,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said of Preston. “I’m not calling him a hero because of the way he died today. He is a hero. As good as he was a cop, he was a better human being.”
Preston was 65 years old.