An armed suspect with a violent history trying to rob a Walmart in Houston, Texas, was the latest example of the judicial system catering to criminals instead of protecting the communities they’re tasked with serving.
This past Wednesday, a young man entered the Walmart with the intent to rob the department store. Luckily, an off-duty police officer was there to thwart the attempted robbery. However, if the suspect was in prison like they should have been, there would have been no attempted robbery to prevent in the first place.
According to news outlet KPRC, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office stated that deputies had responded to reports of a shooting that transpired at the Walmart located in the 9200-block of N. Sam Houston Parkway at about 3:06 p.m. on January 10.
When authorities investigated the scene, they learned that an off-duty Houston police officer was inside the Walmart when 18-year-old Antonio Washington made an attempt to rob the department store. Washington, who was armed with a shotgun at the time, began pointing his weapon at employees behind the counter at the customer service area.
The off-duty police officer, who was shopping at the time, witnessed what was going on and then engaged the armed man. She fired her weapon at Washington, disarmed him, and then went to administer first after shooting the suspect.
The suspect was later transported to the Ben Taub Hospital and has been described as being in stable condition. Based upon the alleged actions of Washington, he’s currently facing multiple charges related to the attempted robbery.
Houston Police Assistant Chief Bobby Dobbins spoke to the press following the incident, stating the following:
“Unfortunately, this individual was shot because of what he did, but our officer did everything she could do not only to protect the public but also to protect him once he was shot so I think today she’s a hero for what she did.”
The chief couldn’t have explained it better. Despite the alleged actions of Washington showing his blatant disregard for life, the officer counteracted the threat and then provided life saving measures to help the suspect.
The female officer involved, who has not been identified by name, was described by Chief Dobbins as a 17-year veteran of the Houston PD. According to a Facebook post by the Houston Police Officers’ Union this past Thursday, they stated:
“Thanks to the heroic actions of our officer, the threat of Antonio Washington killing or seriously injuring anyone was neutralized.”
That’s not all the post by the officers’ union eluded to though. It went into great detail about the suspect Washington, mentioning his long, violent criminal history despite only being 18-years-old.
Antonio Washington is on Deferred Adjudication for three prior violent aggravated robberies. He received 10 years…
It detailed how if it weren’t for the weak sentencing that Washington was subjected to for previous criminal acts, he would have been in prison instead of trying to rob department stores:
“[The] incident could have been avoided if Antonio Washington was in prison – where he belongs.”
According to the union, two months prior to the attempted robbery at the Walmart, Harris County 248th District Court Judge Hilary Unger sentenced Washington to 10 years of probation as deferred adjudication.
The sentence was handed down after Washington plead guilty to three past aggravated robberies. Instead of putting the teen in prison, which the accumulated offenses could have seen him behind bars anywhere from 5 to 99 years, they gave him probation.
Not even a month after being given the extremely lenient sentence of probation, the young adult had escaped from a juvenile detention center and fled. While the facility that Washington escaped from wasn’t detailed, most juvenile detention centers in Texas are considerably lower security than a prison, which might have been why Washington was able to escape custody.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
The police union stated that a felony warrant was issued for Washington’s arrest, along with three more felony warrants related to other previous robberies.
The post levied the question that should be on everyone’s mind when reviewing cases like these, implying that Washington is likely only one instance of many:
“The victims of Antonio Washington’s selfish, evil, and deadly behavior deserve justice. How many more examples like Antonio Washington are out there?”
In a separate tragic scenario, another retired officer who tried to stop an armed robbery was killed this week.
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook to extend their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
According to the GCSO, retired Gwinnett County Sergeant Felix Cosme was shot and killed during an an attempted robbery at an auto parts store on Hamilton Mill in Buford.
Reports confirmed that the store that was being robbed was where Cosme was employed. Police say that during the attempted theft, Cosme jumped in to protect his fellow co-workers from being harmed.
“Sergeant Cosme died a hero’s death as he attempted to protect himself and a female co-worker from a violent criminal with no regard for human life. His next of kin was notified on scene last night,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.
According to AJC.com, Cosme was attempting to draw his own sidearm when he was fatally shot.
Investigators say the perpetrator had parked his vehicle in the lot and watched as the female employee helped another customer outside of the store. As that customer left, the suspect then followed the employee back into the store and demanded the cash inside.
“Once they got back inside, the suspect asked her to open the cash drawer,” police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said in a news release.
We mourn this loss. Keeping the Cosme family in our thoughts & prayers. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/j92VtCkVDY
— GA Bureau of Invest (@GBI_GA) January 9, 2020
Cosme was in the back and reportedly heard the commotion. He came out with his weapon drawn but was shot in the process.
“The male employee attempted to pull his weapon when he was shot by the suspect,” she said. “The victim died at the scene.”
Authorities say that the suspect who is wanted in the fatal shooting is still on the run, and police are looking for any information that could lead to their capture.
They were last seen headed toward I-85, according to reports.
“We do have that female employee, who we hope is a good witness,” Pihera said in an interview with Channel 2 Action News. “Next we will see if they had surveillance cameras and if they were working properly to give us a good description.”
If anyone has any information to share in this case, please contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.stopcrimeATL.com.
Crime Stoppers tipsters can receive a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case. Case Number: 20-002382
The suspect was only described as a black male.
— Gwinnett County Police (@GwinnettPd) January 9, 2020
Sergeant Cosme was employed by the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office starting in April 2006 and served in Jail Administration until his retirement in November 2015, according to the Facebook post.
“Please keep Sergeant Cosme’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers,” the GCSO wrote.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!