Chief Hurtt Updates Status of Investigation at
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
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.
information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at