HPD Statement on Shooting Incident at 4600 Knoxville
May 31, 2007 - The January 8, 2007 officer-involved shooting incident that resulted in the death of Mr. Robert McIntosh at 4600 Knoxville was presented to a Harris County grand jury who returned a “NO BILL” decision. The grand jury was presented with all evidence collected through the homicide investigation and the independent investigation of the Harris County District Attorney’s Police Integrity Division. The grand jury examined the evidence and listened to the testimony of the witnesses involved in this tragic case in reaching its decision.
The death of Mr. McIntosh is unfortunate, but the facts are that he violently resisted arrest. The evidence in this case showed Officer L.D. Smith of the Southeast Patrol Division did everything within his power to restrain Robert McIntosh with less than deadly force. It was only after Robert McIntosh continued to fight with Officer Smith, broke the officer’s thumb and attempted to incapacitate Officer Smith that Officer Smith was forced to use deadly force. Robert McIntosh was on probation for robbery. During this incident, he was in possession of cocaine, PCP and marijuana. He knew if he was arrested his probation would most likely be revoked and he would go back to prison.
The incident unfolded when Officer Smith pulled over a vehicle for a defective brake light. The female driver complied without incident and was arrested on an outstanding warrant. After placing the female in the back of his patrol vehicle, the officer went back to the vehicle where the female’s passenger, McIntosh, was sitting. Officer Smith immediately detected the odor of the felony narcotic PCP. When the officer searched McIntosh and felt what he believed to be marijuana in his pockets, McIntosh stood up and pushed the officer. The two struggled and McIntosh ran. Officer Smith deployed his conductive energy device (CED), but the darts did not make good contact with McIntosh. Officer Smith continued to pursue McIntosh on foot for about 150 yards until he caught up with him. The two fell into a ditch and McIntosh began fighting with Officer Smith again. Officer Smith deployed his CED in an effort to drive stun the suspect, but it had no effect on McIntosh. At that time, McIntosh, who weighs close to 300 pounds, took the CED from Officer Smith and broke the officer’s thumb in the process. McIntosh used the CED and deployed it twice on Officer Smith. Fortunately, it did not incapacitate Officer Smith, who was able to pull his duty weapon. When McIntosh refused orders to drop the CED and tried to use it on Officer Smith again, Officer Smith shot McIntosh as a last resort. As McIntosh sat up in the ditch and still struggled, Officer Smith placed handcuffs on him. HFD paramedics were called, but McIntosh was deceased when they arrived.
Immediately following the incident, three witnesses made statements to the media alleging that Officer Smith shot McIntosh after he was handcuffed. All but one of those witnesses recanted those statements, admitting they did not see McIntosh shot after he was handcuffed. A total of 13 other witnesses confirmed all or parts of Officer Smith’s account of the incident. It was reported throughout the community that other witnesses would come forward to refute the officer’s account. Despite numerous attempts to encourage such witnesses to come forward, no one contacted investigators to provide such statements. The lone witness who contends she witnessed McIntosh being shot after he was handcuffed gave conflicting accounts of where she was at the time of the shooting and initially told the media the officer got back into his patrol vehicle and left the scene. That was not the case. Evidence showed the handcuffs placed on McIntosh were clean. If McIntosh had been handcuffed behind his back and facing Officer Smith when the officer shot him, the handcuffs would have been muddy from the ditch the two fought in.
Blood tests conducted by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s office revealed McIntosh had PCP in his system. PCP is known to cause individuals to be combative and to act irrationally. McIntosh’s DNA was found on the officer’s CED, confirming Officer Smith’s account that McIntosh gained control of the CED.
We appreciate the time and effort made by the Harris County District Attorney’s office to conduct its own independent investigation and, likewise, the efforts the grand jury took to examine all evidence before rendering its decision.
For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.