HOUSTON, Tx. – A former Texas police officer whose lies allegedly brought on a botched raid that left two people dead and five officers injured is now facing murder charges.
A prosecutor in the case said on Friday that former Houston officer Gerald Goines faces two felony murder charges after he reportedly lied to obtain a search warrant in January. An additional former officer, Steven Bryant, is also accused of tampering with evidence in connection with the raid.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said it’s imperative that investigators uncover what really happened that led to such a devastating tragedy.
“The eyes of this community and the nation are on this case; it is critical to the public trust that we reveal the true facts about what, how and why two civilians were killed in their own home by members of the Houston Police Narcotics Squad 15,” Ogg said.
Investigators say that Goines and Bryant were part of a tactical team that led a narcotics raid on Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle, both of whom were killed during the botched raid. Officials say Goines lied in order to obtain a warrant for a ‘no knock’ raid, which reportedly included claiming that a criminal informant purchased heroin from a man at the address the day before and that the man selling drugs was known to have a gun, among other things, which meant there was no need for police to knock on a door before entering, Ogg said.
As police made entry, gunfire rang out almost immediately. One suspect attempted to take cover in a back room but was killed when they re-emerged. The second suspect was shot and killed while attempting to wrestle a shotgun away from one of the officers.
It’s reported that Goines was one of the five officers injured during the January operation.
UPDATE: Booking photos of former officers Gerald Goines (left) and Steven Bryant. pic.twitter.com/DCSkUQEf4V
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 23, 2019
WPBF reported that Bryant had been charged with evidence tampering because he allegedly provided a supplement to the original report after the raid which contained falsehoods, authorities said.
Bryant allegedly said he had previously assisted Goines in the investigation of the home and that during the investigation he found baggies with a brown substance he believed to be heroin that matched the heroin purchased by an informant prior to the raid, Ogg said.
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Following the raid, where two suspects were killed and a total of five law enforcement officers were injured, Goines provided his informant’s information to the department, but reports noted that those informants claimed that while they had worked with Goines previously, they were not involved with that particular case.
Officials say the officer’s reports were false and that Goines altered a government record by lying in order to obtain the warrant.
Ogg said that because two people died while the former officer committed a felony, he’s now facing charges that could even end up as capital murder charges. Investigators are additionally going through roughly 1,400 cases that Goines had been a part of during his time with the force.
BREAKING: Former @houstonpolice officer Gerald Goines to be charged with felony murder for his role in the botched Harding Street drug raid, defense attorney Nicole DeBorde confirms. #KHOU11 pic.twitter.com/v1jx0dGb9z
— Jeremy Rogalski (@JRogalskiKHOU) August 23, 2019
Bryant has allegedly turned himself in and is posting bond. His lawyer, Andy Drumheller, said Bryant shared no role in creating the police affidavit that led to the incident. He also claims that his client never discharged his weapon and didn’t enter the residence where the raid occurred.
Officials say Bryant has cooperated with the investigation thus far.
Police say that they found marijuana, a number of guns and a white powder believed to be cocaine or fentanyl after the raid ended.
When asked what she would want to say to the deceased raid suspects’ family members, Ogg said,
“I want to tell them how sorry we are as a city and a county for actions that resulted in the loss of their loved ones’ lives.”
Goines had serves as a law enforcement officer for the past 35 years.
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