Category Archives: Harris County

Police seek public’s help with attempted burglary near Pearland

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The first man to enter the home.

Harris County investigators are searching for three people who broke into a home at 8130 Azure Dr. in Camden Hills on Saturday (Dec. 19), then ran away when the homeowner walked in on them.

One would-be burglar used the homeowner’s own gardening gloves and mallet to break the glass in the home’s master bedroom at approximately 12:20 p.m., as seen on home surveillance video.

The man is shown searching around the home and then he makes a phone call. Shortly after the call, a second man comes into the home.

The homeowner, who had been napping in another room upstairs, woke up and confronted the burglars in the living room. They quickly ran out the door and got into a waiting vehicle.

The would-be burglars did not take anything from the home. Investigators are seeking help from the public. Tips and information may be called in to the Harris County Precinct 2 Constable at 713-477-2766.

The full video may be viewed on affiliate ABC 13 website at http://abc13.com/news/homeowner-confronts-several-home-invaders-near-pearland/1129441/.

Clear Lake Alum Shoots for the Stars

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Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense

Many kids in the Clear Lake area dream of a future in outer space, but for 30 year-old Christin Mastracchio, that childhood dream may become a reality very soon.

A Clear Lake native and Clear Lake High School alumna, Mastracchio knew she wanted to shoot for the stars at a young age. When she was 17 years old, her father asked her what she would pay to do for a living instead of being paid.

“I knew I loved science, math and physics. I was a cheerleader and a gymnast and grew up in awe of the space program. We moved back to Clear Lake from California specifically for the school system,” Mastracchio said.

It seemed only natural to pursue a career in the space program.

“I had read so many astronaut biographies,” she said. “I found out there were several ways to get into the Astronaut Program.”

The summer before her senior year in high school, Mastracchio was accepted into the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) and was also a Lunar Rendezvous Princess at the Clear Lake Lunar Rendezvous Festival, which is dedicated to providing community based support, including scholarships for higher education, youth development and educational programs, funding for the arts and historical preservation in the Bay Area Houston/NASA area.

After high school, Mastracchio took the military path, going into the Astronautical Engineering Program at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“My time at the Air Force Academy literally was rocket science,” Mastracchio said. “We had to control satellites that were launched into orbit. They spin, so we had to stop the spinning and make sure the cameras or antennas were pointed where they needed to be pointed,” she said.

She then pursued and received her Masters degree in the same major from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Mastracchio also got trained as a pilot, and currently flies B-52s during nuclear deterrent exercises out of Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. She was the first female B-52 pilot in the United States when she started. “That really got me motivated!” she said.

Her practice for Test Pilot School paid off, when, as of last week, she received her letter of acceptance. Mastracchio will begin her yearlong training at Edwards Air Force Base beginning in July 2016. “I was so excited and surprised,” she said. “They had me fly a T-38, a C-12 and an ASK-21 glider. I was familiar with the T-38 because that’s an astronaut-training plane, and a C-12 is a six-seater, two-engine plane. But I had never flown a glider before! It was strange to think of a plane with NO engines!”

Apparently, everything Mastracchio did to prepare paid off. But pursuing her dream of becoming an astronaut is not the only thing Mastracchio is doing.

She was featured in “Futures Magazine,” which is a military recruiting magazine for high school aged kids. She has also been a keynote speaker for the Society of Women Engineers.

“There’s this misconception about math,” Mastracchio said. “It’s actually a universal language. We’re getting better at encouraging girls in STEM subjects. If someone is having problems in math, I tell her to go back and relearn the last thing she felt comfortable with and go from there. Math builds on itself. A lot of times, it’s just a mental block.”

Mastracchio’s dream is, “17 years in the making. I want to encourage girls to get into STEM at a young age. Start out college with a technical major,” she said.

Whether or not Mastracchio becomes an astronaut is undetermined, but her accomplishments so far speak the most to her encouragement of future science, technology, engineering and math students.

Warrants detail events leading up to arrest for deputy’s murder

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Deputy Darren Goforth, EOW: 8/28/15

The Harris County District Clerk’s Office has released copies of warrants related to Shannon Miles, the man accused of killing Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth.

The warrants detail the initial search for a suspect in the hours after Goforth was murdered while putting fuel into his patrol vehicle at a station at the corner of West and Telge roads. Goforth, 47, was a 10-year veteran with the sheriff’s office. The husband and father of two was pronounced dead at the scene Friday, Aug. 28.

Miles was first called into suspicion because of his vehicle. Initial questioning led to his admission that he owned a 40 caliber handgun, just like the one that killed Goforth. Finally, confirmation that a handgun found was the same one used to kill Goforth led to Miles’ arrest.

The first of two search warrants released by the Clerk’s Office indicate officers were looking for a firearm.

After first stopping by Miles’ home in the 8400 block of Lake Crystal Drive at 12:38 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, officers saw a red Ford Ranger in the driveway. They asked residents inside about the owner of the vehicle. Although not home at the time, it was confirmed that Miles was the owner.

Miles returned home while officers looked for him inside the home. It is noted in the warrant that officers had verbal permission to search for Miles inside. Miles was then asked about any handguns he owned. He admitted to owning a Smith and Wesson SD40 40 caliber gun. After the search warrant was issued to and signed by Magistrate Joe Licata at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, deputies returned to Miles’ home in northwest Harris County.

The loaded handgun along with two magazines and 34 rounds of ammunition were recovered. It was noted in the warrants that the box containing the ammunition was for 50 rounds and 15 shell cases were found at the crime scene.

A second search warrant, signed later in the afternoon of Aug. 29 by Magistrate Katherine Cabaniss, allowed for the search of various items of clothing and digital devices to determine where Miles was at various times. Among the items seized were six cell phones, a digital camera and three computers.

A final warrant, also signed by Cabaniss on the afternoon of Aug. 29, called for the arrest of Miles for the “felony offense of capital murder of a peace officer.” The arrest warrant was issued at 3:07 p.m. with the arrest being made at Miles’ home at 3:25 p.m.

Among the evidence cited in the warrant requests were:

Video surveillance footage of a man who resembled Miles’ appearance.

An eyewitness account of a man entering a red Ford Ranger pickup truck, including a “distinctive aftermarket trailer hitch.” Miles drove a similar truck.

A Harris County firearms examiner confirmation that the Smith and Wesson SD40 recovered in Miles’ home was the same weapon used to kill Goforth.

Miles is currently being held without bond in the Harris County Jail. His arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 5. His case is assigned to the 208th Criminal Court of Judge Denise Collins.

Positive Coaching Alliance 6th Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet

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You’ve seen all the stories from coaches yanking kids, and parents berating their children in public for poor athletic performance. Positive Coaching Alliance is on a mission to change the culture of youth sports. At PCA we believe youth sports are a development zone where student athletes can become Better Athletes, and Better People. Please join us as we honor local High School Seniors for being Triple Impact Competitors. We will also be honoring Houston Astros President Reid Ryan and for North Shore HS standout and Houston Rocket, Joe Stephens for his work in the community.

The event will be held Saturday, October 10 from 9:00am – 11:00am at Positive Coaching Alliance Houston, 2000-A Edwards St, Houston, Texas 77007.

For tickets and more information, visit http://donate.positivecoach.org/Houston-TIC-event or https://www.facebook.com/events/1466100523698078/.

Harris County Commissioners rename park for Deputy Darren Goforth

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Harris County commissioners voted Tuesday (Sept. 15) to rename Horsepen Park Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth Park.

The park is located just off West Road, close to the Chevron station where Deputy Goforth was murdered while gassing up his patrol car on Aug. 28.

Harris County resident Andrew Callis is collecting signatures for a petition to be served to Harris County Commissioners on Sept. 29 to rename West Road in honor of Deputy Goforth. Almost 17,500 people have signed the petition to date. Callis is hoping to reach 25,000 signatures by Sept. 29.

The online petition may be viewed HERE.

Several guns found after HPD chase near Ellington

Houston Police take an unknown male into custody. (Photo: Kar Hlava)

Houston Police take an unknown male into custody. (Photo: Kar Hlava)

Houston police were led on a chase near the Ellington area Tuesday (Sept. 15) afternoon.

After responding to a car burglary in the 14300 block of the Gulf Freeway, officers followed in pursuit when the suspect vehicle, carrying four suspects, fled.

According to HPD officials, the suspect vehicle, possibly a Chrysler 300, traveled down the Gulf Freeway to Dixie Farm Rd.

The suspect vehicle then entered a parking lot behind some warehouses on Dixie Farm Rd. and ended up on on Perrie street inside the Ellington Airport property near the reserve base where they stopped and attempted to exit the vehicle, HPD officials said.

At that point, two suspects were taken into custody while the other two fled and remain at large.

Houston called in their helicopter FOX to help search along with K9 units. Houston Police found several guns inside the trunk of the vehicle along with other items.

Houston Fire department ambulance 93 responded to check out one of the suspects, they did not transport.

Houston PD officials have no further details at this time.

Travis Manion Foundation to host annual 9/11 Heroes Run in Houston

PRESS RELEASE

TMF_Footprint_SFbanner_108x48_Mech-1024x273HOUSTON — The Travis Manion Foundation will host the Houston 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race at 7:30 a.m. on September 12 at Ellington Airport, located at 11602 Aerospace Drive.

The annual race will unite the community to remember the sacrifices of the heroes of the September 11th attacks and the wars fought since. The Houston race is the largest across the entire country. This year’s race was organized by Greg Fremin, who serves as the local volunteer race director.

A portion of the proceeds from the 9/11 Heroes Run will benefit the Travis Manion Foundation, which offers veterans and families of the fallen unique opportunities to help them take the next step in their journeys and accomplish their personal and professional goals. The other portion of the proceeds will remain in the local community to support the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Charitable Foundation, Texas Association of First Responders and Assist the Officer.

The 9/11 Heroes Run series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he selflessly protected his battalion. Before his final deployment, Travis visited Rescue One in NYC—famous for losing almost all of their men on 9/11—and returned home with deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq.

At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to Travis’ personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day. In its seventh year, the 9/11 Heroes Run national race series will be held in more than 50 locations across U.S. and abroad.

“Knowing that so many people gave their lives during the 9/11 attacks touched my brother Travis in a way that would forever change him,” said Ryan Manion, President of Travis Manion Foundation. “Six years after 9/11, my brother also gave his life for his country, so every year we gather communities together to run a 5K to honor the fallen. We are looking forward to this exciting race season and uniting people around the world to remember those whose service has given us freedom.”

Last year, more than 30,000 people participated in races around the world. The Travis Manion Foundation invested over $151,000 back into the local race communities to support military, veterans, first responders and their families. National sponsors of the events include Comcast NBC Universal, JWT, and Reebok. The race series sponsor is Johnson & Johnson. To learn more and to register for a race, visit www.911heroesrun.org.

Hostage-involved SWAT standoff in Kemah leaves suspect dead

Medics with an unidentified person at the scene. (Photo: Kar Hlava)

Medics with an unidentified person at the scene. (Photo: Kar Hlava)

Kemah and League City Police Departments and their joint SWAT teams responded to a call of a robbery in progress with hostages taken at a Walgreens, located at 156 E. FM 518 in Kemah, Tuesday (Sept. 8) at around 9 a.m.

The suspect barricaded himself and several hostages in the building. After a brief standoff, the suspect released the hostages and then turned his weapon on himself around 10 a.m.

According to League City police, the man ran inside the Walgreens after an armed robbery and a chase.

League City police said he fired shots at pursuing officers. All customers and staff were immediately evacuated from the store.

Ricky Berg, the husband of a Walgreens customer who was taken hostage said, “My son called me at home. I got here and there were cop cars everywhere. It was pretty frightening. It’s hard to say what goes on in somebody’s head. My wife is still pretty shaken up.”

Apparently the suspect’s SUV crashed into poles at the front entrance of the store.

Police brought at least one civilian out of the building.

The chase started in a commercial area in the 2500 block of South Shore Blvd. in League City.

Police said they were reviewing a live feed from the store when they saw the man shoot himself.

No other injuries were reported. Police expect to release more information later today.

HPD chief, area law enforcement join HPOU to announce new campaign

PRESS RELEASE

11952973_10153113797731027_7500497891543520944_oHOUSTON — At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 8), HPD Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. will join members of the Houston Police Officers’ Union and area law enforcement officers to announce the “Pray for Police” campaign.

The event will be held at the HPOU offices, located at 1602 State Street.

Also scheduled to attend are Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, HPD’s Police and Clergy Alliance (PACA) members, Houston Ministers Against Crime and local ministers.

As part of the campaign, more than 30,000 wristbands will be distributed to area citizens, local congregations and anyone who wants to show support for the work Houston area law enforcement does. The light blue wristbands all say “Pray for Police” with the hashtag #P4P.

For 24 hours, beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 9), the Houston police volunteer clergy program, PACA and the KSBJ Radio prayer team will be praying with anyone who comes to the HPOU offices to get a wristband.

Thousands turn out as Deputy Darren Goforth is laid to rest

Jason Fochtman

Photo: Jason Fochtman

It was a somber occasion as people lined up to pay their respects to slain Deputy Darren Goforth.

More than 11,000 people filled the sanctuary and overflow areas at Second Baptist Church on Friday morning. An estimated 20,000 people were outside the church and in the Spring Branch area to show their respect to the 10-year veteran Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was gunned down last Friday night while refueling his vehicle at a gas station in Cypress.

Once the greeting, scripture and prayer were given, remarks were made by Sheriff Ron Hickman, Houston Police Department Lt. Roland de Los Santos and Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Shannon Bowdoin.

“This is a loss suffered from our community,” Hickman said. “There’s no telling how many lives were touched by [Deputy] Darren.”

Goforth’s childhood friend, De Los Santos spoke highly of the fallen deputy.

“[Darren] was a good person who was a hard worker and self-sufficient,” said De Los Santos. He described Goforth as a family man with a great sense of humor and who enjoyed fixing cars.

Law enforcement personnel sat with public officials in the church, their badges representing different agencies nationwide, coast-to-coast. Blue lighting filled the room and lit up the walls in honor of policemen who wear their blue uniform to service their communities. A sea of people wearing blue was seen from the parking to the inside of the church.

Dr. H. Edwin Young delivered the message and closing prayer.

In his closing remarks, De Los Santos informed the attendees that Goforth recently bought Captain America shirts so that he and his son could wear them together. Goforth did not get a chance to wear the shirt with his son. At the funeral, his son wore the shirt and his dad wore his under the uniform in which he is now buried.

“He has gone to be better place, but his life wasn’t a tragedy [It] was a victory because he brought so many people together. It is making a big impact and a difference,” said HCSO Deputy Willie M. Drew Jr. “I think it’s going to be a time of healing, but we are still going to be there for the community.”

Goforth, 47, leaves behind a wife and two children. Following the funeral service, internment was at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Shannon Miles, 30, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the case. He is currently being held without bond in the Harris County Jail awaiting his next court appearance.