Alleged killer of Houston police sergeant could face death penalty

Police had been to the accused man's home twice during the past weekend for domestic issues, authorities said

An undocumented immigrant accused of killing a Houston police officer and wounding another Tuesday was charged, and could face the death penalty, prosecutors said. 

Elmer Manzano, 51, faces capital murder and attempted capital murder charges in the death of Houston police Sgt. Harold Preston and the shooting of officer Courtney Waller, respectively.

They were shot during a domestic violence call at an apartment complex, according to court documents obtained by Fox News. Manzano also is charged with aggravated assault.

Preston was a 41-year veteran of the police force. Waller has been with the department for three years. 

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Suspect Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez, 51, is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, authorities say. He is charged with capital murder in the death of Houston police Sgt. Harold Preston.

Suspect Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez, 51, is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, authorities say. He is charged with capital murder in the death of Houston police Sgt. Harold Preston. (Texas Department of Public Safety)

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg filed a request for a court hearing to ask that that Manzano be denied bail. The filing also noted that there is strong evidence he will "probably be punished by the death penalty," Ogg's office told Fox News. 

The officers were responding to an apartment complex in southwest Houston after Manzano's estranged wife said she was moving out and wanted to get some things from inside. They spoke with the woman and her 14-year-old son in a parking lot for about an hour before the boy unlocked the apartment door and alerted officers that his father had a gun. 

Manzano is accused of opening fire and hitting Preston, Waller and his son. Preston was shot multiple times. Waller and the boy are expected to recover. Manzano surrendered to authorities after barricading himself inside the apartment. 

Houston police Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year veteran of the force, died Tuesday when he was shot and another officer was wounded during a domestic violence call. (Houston Police Department)

Houston police Sgt. Harold Preston, a 41-year veteran of the force, died Tuesday when he was shot and another officer was wounded during a domestic violence call. (Houston Police Department)

Officers went to the residence twice last weekend for domestic issues, Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday. After the shooting, critics said Manzano should have been charged after the earlier responses. 

In a statement, Ogg's office said any attempt to blame prosecutors for Tuesday's shooting is "sadly political and not factual."

Mayor Sylvester Turner, center, prays with Houston Police officers, after learning Sgt. Harold Preston died at Memorial Hermann Hospital on Oct. 20, in Houston. Two officers were shot by a suspect during a domestic violence call at an apartment complex. (Godofredo A. Vásquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Mayor Sylvester Turner, center, prays with Houston Police officers, after learning Sgt. Harold Preston died at Memorial Hermann Hospital on Oct. 20, in Houston. Two officers were shot by a suspect during a domestic violence call at an apartment complex. (Godofredo A. Vásquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

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"The only person responsible for this horrible crime is the killer himself," the statement reads. "The record speaks for itself; the officers in these cases didn't believe that a crime had occurred and that left no evidence on which to base any charges."

Manzano, a Salvadoran national living in the U.S. without documentation, has at least four arrests, including assault and unlawfully carrying a firearm, dating back to 1994, according to media reports.