HOUSTON (AP) — An FBI agent's explanation for why he fatally shot a hostage during a rescue attempt in Houston "is not supported" by evidence reviewed by police investigators, the Houston police chief said Wednesday.
Chief Art Acevedo said "the totality of the evidence and statements in this investigation" are not consistent with the agent's claims in the January shooting of 47-year-old Ulises Valladares. But Acevedo declined to say how the agent's claims were inconsistent with what police found.
"I will not be putting into the public record precisely what happened or how the sequence of events differed," Acevedo said during a news conference.
Acevedo said the findings of his investigators were forwarded to federal authorities and to the Harris County district attorney's office in April. He didn't initially explain the delay in announcing the investigation, but said later through a spokesman that he didn't want to jeopardize an ongoing federal investigation that was taking longer than he expected.
Authorities have said Valladares was kidnapped on Jan. 24 in Conroe, north of Houston, as part of an attempt to extort money from his brother. The FBI tracked two male suspects to a motel. FBI agents also went to a house in Houston where another suspect, a woman, was located with Valladares.
An FBI SWAT team began entering the house early on Jan. 25. Some agents entered through the front of the home, while two others began entering by breaking through a back window. The tool one agent used to break the window fell into the unlit home, and then a second agent — shot Valladares — used his assault rifle to break the glass, Acevedo said during a news conference shortly after the shooting.
Valladares, whose wrists were bound, grabbed the barrel of the rifle and the agent, fearing the weapon could be used against other agents entering the home, fired twice, Acevedo said. One bullet hit Valladares, who died later at a hospital.
At least three suspects were arrested in the kidnapping and are facing various charges.
The FBI has declined to release the agent's name. Valladares' family is suing him for wrongful death.