Top Stories

FBI To Investigate Deadly Houston Drug Raid, Former Enron CEO Release Date Changed To “Unknown”, And NASA Will Test Drone Traffic Management System In Texas

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo (third from left) discusses the investigation of a deadly drug raid conducted in Houston on January 28, 2019.

FBI To Investigate Deadly Houston Drug Raid

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation connected to a recent drug raid conducted in Southeast Houston that resulted in the death of two people and left five police officers wounded.

On January 28, Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines led a no-knock search warrant at 7815 Harding that resulted in a shootout. Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were killed. Goines is one of the five officers wounded. The undercover operation was expected to net large amounts of heroin, but officers found only small amounts of marijuana and cocaine. 

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo referenced the FBI investigation during a press conference held on Wednesday at City Hall along with Mayor Sylvester Turner. The chief didn’t provide details about the FBI investigation but said it will at least focus on Goines and Officer Steven Bryant. Both of them have been relieved of duty.

Meanwhile, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday it has launched a review of more than 1,400 criminal cases involving Goines. Twenty-seven of those cases were active and have been put on hold.

Jeff Skilling
Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling (left) is escorted from Houston’s federal courthouse  in June 21 2013.

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s Release Date Changed To “Unknown”

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was originally scheduled to be released Thursday from the halfway house he is at in Texas, but his release date on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website has been changed to “unknown.”

Up until Tuesday, his release date had been listed as February 21, 2019. When contacted by News 88.7, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said the only information they could provide is that Skilling is still in its custody.

In 2006, Skilling was convicted of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading in connection with the collapse of the Houston-based energy giant. Enron’s bankruptcy and ensuing scandal rocked Houston and led to widespread federal accounting reforms for corporations.

Skilling was fined $45 million and originally sentenced to 24 years in prison, though in 2013 his sentence was reduced to 14 years. In August 2018, he was released from prison and transferred to a halfway house at an undisclosed location in Texas.

An artist’s conception of an urban air mobility environment, where air vehicles are able to interact safely and efficiently.

NASA Selects A Texas College To Test Drone Traffic Management System

NASA has selected Texas to host the final phase of a project to develop a drone traffic management system the space agency is working on.

Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence & Innovation, which is part of the Texas A&M campus in Corpus Christi, will host flight demonstrations in July and August with drones that will fly over Corpus Christi. NASA’s partners on this project include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The goal of the flight demonstrations is to help the commercial drone industry understand the challenges posed by flying in an urban environment. NASA says the results of the tests will also help establish future policies and procedures for operating drones safely over populated areas.

Safe landing technologies and vehicle-to-vehicle communication and collision avoidance are some of the key technologies that will be tested.