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Chief Hurtt Updates Status of Investigation at 4600 Knoxville

January 24, 2007 -- The Houston Police Department holds the sanctity of human life above all else and it is in fact one of the core values listed in our mission statement. We also realize that the authority to police our community is granted to us by the very public we serve. This trust to act appropriately and judiciously is something we take very seriously and hold dear. Given that, anytime deadly force is employed by a Houston police officer we have an obligation to our community to ensure that a thorough and complete investigation is conducted to determine all relevant factors leading up to and during the event are revealed. Unfortunately, this is not a quick process. There are factors within the judicial process that prevent the full disclosure of all the specifics of one of these events until that process has been completed in order to ensure justice is served.

Given this need to protect the integrity of the process, we do not typically discuss the details of a case until the process has run its course. One reason this is the practice is so that physical evidence can be weighed against the statements of witnesses to either help corroborate or, in some cases refute, the version provided by these witnesses. However, given the recent interest and attention given to the unfortunate event which ended with the death of Robert McIntosh, I will share with you what I can in order to offer the public some additional perspective to this case. There has been a great deal of focus on the statement or statements of only a very small fraction of those witnesses interviewed and who have provided statements in this case. The information that I will share with you will be somewhat limited in order to protect the integrity of the judicial process I referred to earlier but I feel it is necessary to provide balance to the discussion that is being held in our community. I want to stress that the investigation is not finished and will continue. I also want to remind everyone that the Homicide Division of the Houston Police Department, the Internal Affairs Division and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office are conducting separate reviews of the incident. Similarly, we will cooperate fully with the Houston office of the FBI and respond promptly to any request for information that we receive and welcome their review.

With that said, here is the information that I can provide to you at this time. At this point in the investigation, we have obtained sworn statements from 13 witnesses who viewed at least portions of the events leading up to or during the fatal shooting of Mr. McIntosh. The following is in general terms a description of those events as pieced together from these witnesses statements and physical evidence uncovered as a result of the investigation. The officer in this encounter conducted a traffic stop for a defective brake light and no front license tag. The female driver of this vehicle was arrested when it was discovered that she had an outstanding warrant and placed in the rear of the patrol vehicle. Mr. McIntosh was a passenger in the vehicle. When the officer continued his investigation and began searching Mr. McIntosh, he fled the scene. There was physical evidence, corroborated by witness statements that indicated there was a foot chase traveling a good distance. At the end of that chase, a very violent physical struggle ensued. Some accounts indicate that Mr. McIntosh, who was an imposing figure standing 6’1” and weighing in excess of 300 pounds, was overpowering the officer. According to witness accounts and physical evidence, Mr. McIntosh was able to turn the officer’s Taser against him. It was also determined that the officer also suffered a broken thumb as a result of this struggle. It was at this point that the sworn statements of 10 witnesses indicate the officer fired his weapon leading to the death of Mr. McIntosh.

It has been reported on several occasions that Mr. McIntosh was handcuffed before he was shot. We are in possession of 7 sworn statements from members of the same community where this event occurred that indicate Mr. McIntosh was handcuffed after they heard or witnessed the shots. Two of the witnesses who initially gave statements to the news media indicating that Mr. McIntosh was handcuffed before he was shot were interviewed and either recanted their statement or clarified their comments in sworn affidavits indicating otherwise. The one remaining witness who has publicly maintained that Mr. McIntosh was handcuffed has not provided a sworn statement but offered testimony to the Harris County Grand Jury. Given that those proceedings are secret, we can not speak to the details she provided. However, all of the remaining witnesses mentioned never wavered in their account regarding when Mr. McIntosh was handcuffed. They all indicated he was handcuffed after the shots were fired.

There have been questions asked regarding why Mr. McIntosh would flee the scene of the encounter and about Mr. McIntosh’s criminal history or the presence of narcotics at the scene. Since this event, it has been determined that Mr. McIntosh was on probation at the time of his death for Robbery. Also, I will confirm that there were substantial quantities of three types of illegal narcotic substances found on Mr. McIntosh at the time of his death.

Both investigators and a supervisor spoke with the grandmother and brother of Mr. McIntosh at the scene to confirm his identity and to provide a brief summary of what happened in the confrontation with the officer.

While my heart goes out to the McIntosh family and I wish this tragic set of circumstances had not occurred, the only thing I can do now is to ensure that we will continue to seek as much information as possible to ensure that no stone remains unturned relative to this event. Should anyone reading this have any additional information regarding this incident, I would encourage you to call the Houston Homicide Division, the HPD Internal Affairs Division, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, or the local office of the FBI to make sure there is as much information collected as possible relevant to this case. I pledge to continue to monitor this investigation and to provide updates as I can. Additionally, we will continue to cooperate with the other agencies charged with examining this matter and welcome their review.


For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.