Houston Police Department SWAT officer mistakenly loaded rifle in Fiesta parking lot in Katy area

KATY, Texas (KTRK) – The Houston Police Department says it is investigating after one of its SWAT team members left an AR-15-style rifle in a public parking lot.

HPD spokesman John Cannon said: “HPD takes these types of unintentional mistakes very seriously and internal affairs are looking into them.

The incident happened Wednesday morning at a Fiesta mall off Fry Road and FM 529 in the Katy-Cypress area.

Juan Garcia, who lives nearby, said: “It’s pretty outrageous, to be honest, but I mean it’s a bit crazy.

The woman who called 911 to report a loaded gun in the parking lot refused to speak to the camera. She said she was working nearby when a colleague saw an officer put a gun in his car and drive away. The gun fell to the ground and was left in the parking lot.

Mark Stephens, a retired HPD officer, said: “My initial reaction was that it was a very unfortunate accident.

HPD told ABC13 that officers returned to the scene to retrieve it to its original location.

The woman who helped notify police about the gun said she called them shortly after 9am. She reported the weapon and stayed with the gun until a trailer driver offered to keep the gun so she could return to work.

It was a team effort, she said, to keep a close eye on the gun for nearly 40 minutes.

“I’m glad someone honest came and found it,” Stephens said.

Sheriff Troy Finner also acknowledged the good deed. A spokesman said Finner wanted to personally thank residents for keeping a close eye on the weapon until officers arrived on the scene.

“It’s lucky someone has given up on it,” said Garcia. “Honestly, that’s how I feel.”

HPD said it has identified the employee involved and is still obtaining any information the public may have to aid their internal investigation.

“No one makes it harder for that officer than themselves because that’s what you’re trained not to do. But, officers are human and they’re going to make mistakes,” Stephens said.

For updates on this story, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. Copyright Registered. Houston Police Department SWAT officer mistakenly loaded rifle in Fiesta parking lot in Katy area

Dais Johnston

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