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Footage released by Houston authorities captured the dramatic moments as officers engaged in a shootout with a carjacking suspect who allegedly wounded three of them in an hours-long chaotic scene.
The suspect, Roland Caballero, 31, was eventually taken into custody hours after the Jan. 27 incident and charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer. He also faces federal charges for carjacking, firearm during a crime of violence, possession of a machine gun and being a felon in possession of a firearm, the Justice Department said Thursday.
The federal charges against him stem from the shooting of the officers and other unrelated cases involving possessing modified guns, or “Glock switches,” to make them automatic, the DOJ said.
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At a news conference, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the 19 federal indictments returned against Caballero speak volumes.
“Suspects, violent offenders, felons with guns, we’re coming after you,” he said. “There’s no place for automatic weapons in a civilized society.”
Prosecutors said Caballero had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend on the day of the gunfire exchange and a 911 call was placed. When officers spotted his vehicle, they attempted a traffic stop, but he allegedly fled and crashed.
He opened fire upon getting out and wounded two officers, the Houston Police Department said. He then fled on foot and attempted to carjack a woman inside a vehicle who was trying to enter an apartment complex. He continued to fire at officers and struck another, police said.
He left in the stolen vehicle and officers found the car outside his home. When SWAT officers approached the residence, they were met with more gunfire, authorities said.
The three wounded officers, identified as Officer N. Gadson, 35; Officer D. Hayden, 32, and Officer A. Alvarez, sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The newly released footage captures the shootout for several vantage points through police body-cameras.
Hayden was driving a police cruiser when he turned onto a street and was immediately fired upon, according to dashcam footage. The front of the car and the windshield appear to be hit as automatic gunfire is heard. His body-camera shows him getting out of the vehicle while taking fire.
“Send EMS. I got hit,” he is heard calling on a radio.
He enters a parking lot where vans for a uniform supplier are parked and appears to wrap something around his arm in an effort to stop the bleeding. A worker runs over and asks if he needs a towel.
“Here hurry. Tighten that tight,” the officer says. “Tight, tight, tight. Wrap it around.”
Gadson appears to be seated in the passenger seat of a vehicle and was met with gunfire before he opens the door.
He empties three magazines before loading a fourth. As he runs up a sidewalk, he comes upon another officer lying on the ground behind a parked car.
“I’m hit. I’m hit,” the officer is heard screaming before Gadson fires several more shots.
The body camera of Alvarez falls to the ground as he exits his vehicle and no footage was captured.
The video also shows SWAT officers breaking a window at a home just before shots appear to come from inside. The officers returned fire. Caballero, who was barricaded inside, was wounded in the neck and was taken to a hospital after he surrendered hours later, police said.
Federal prosecutors said Caballero used a modified pistol with a fully automatic switch to shoot at officers.
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During a search of his home, investigators said they found several firearms, ammunition, machine gun parts and 3-D printers.
He faces up to life in prison.