Law Enforcement

Houston police: Man wielding knife, flagpole shot to death by officer outside McDonald’s in Spring Branch

The police officer who fatally shot the man also shattered a window of the fast-food restaurant. No other injuries were reported by the Houston Police Department.

Houston Police Department
Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media
File photo

A man police described as an “aggressive panhandler” was shot to death by an officer Monday morning outside of a McDonald’s restaurant in a West Houston suburb.

A woman driving near the intersection of Long Point Road and Wirt Road in the Spring Branch area called police shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday to report that a man had smashed her windshield with a flagpole, Houston Police Department executive chief Matt Slinkard told reporters at the scene. Slinkard said the man allegedly wielded a knife when encountered by an HPD officer in the parking lot of the McDonald’s, where the officer then fired multiple gunshots, killing the man and shattering a window at the fast-food restaurant.

“Other units were en route to this area, and at some point that officer discharged his weapon – I don’t know how many times – at the suspect who was (wielding) the knife,” Slinkard said. “… The suspect was immediately rendered first aid and CPR by other responding units at the scene. Unfortunately, he was pronounced deceased by (the Houston Fire Department) here on the scene and succumbed to his injuries. I do not have a race or identity on the suspect, so I cannot confirm that here this morning.”

Slinkard said the male officer who shot the man, who has been with HPD for about one year, will be placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation into the shooting. No one else was injured during the incident, Slinkard said, and no other HPD officers fired gunshots.

The woman who called police after her windshield was smashed was “very shaken up,” according to Slinkard, who said she remained at the scene to be interviewed by investigators. Slinkard said authorities would spend several hours at or near the scene talking to other witnesses and looking for surveillance footage.

Slinkard said the man who was fatally shot was “possibly in some sort of mental crisis.” The officer who shot the man had been in contact with dispatchers immediately before the shooting, saying the man had a knife and was “charging at” the officer, who requested assistance, according to Slinkard.

“You never know what you might face,” Slinkard said. “Obviously, situations can turn very volatile very fast.

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