HPD officer killed by machine gun rigged handgun, shows body camera footage

Body camera footage of several HPD officers shows two officers knocking on the door of an apartment to arrest Deon Ledet, 30, on September 20, 2021.

The man who killed a Houston cop and injured another during an arrest attempt last month in northern Harris County used an illegal modification to turn his handgun into a fully automatic weapon , the police said on Tuesday.

“There is absolutely no reason or place for our suspects to be armed like this,” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said after showing body camera footage of the shooting during a press conference with law enforcement in the Houston area. “It’s a threat that’s here and it’s a threat to everyone – law enforcement and the citizens of every neighborhood in our community.”

On September 20, officers from the Houston Police Department’s Principal Offenders Division executed a high-level narcotics warrant at an apartment complex on Aeropark Drive near the Bush Intercontinental Airport, police said. Body camera footage shows two police officers knocking on the apartment door to arrest Deon Ledet, 30. The video shows a woman opening the door and the police asking her to come out and call Ledet to show up.

About a minute later, just as an officer appears to be saying, “Let’s do this the easy way,” he is interrupted by rapid gunfire coming from inside the apartment.

Senior Police Officer William “Bill” Jeffrey can immediately be seen falling to the ground. Sgt. Michael Vance was also hit by gunfire and can be seen crawling away from the door as other officers attack the shooter.

Jeffrey and Vance were both taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where Jeffrey was pronounced dead. Vance was later released and is recovering from his injuries, police said.

Ledet was also killed in the shooting, which lasted around a minute and a half, according to the footage.

The shooter’s handgun was fitted with an illegal switch that can essentially turn a semi-automatic handgun into a machine gun, according to police. The Switch itself is considered a machine gun under federal law, according to acting US attorney Jennifer Lowery. Possession or transfer of a switch carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

Last year, the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made seven arrests and seized 104 switches, as well as 11 handguns that already had a switch installed, according to Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge of the Houston division of the Bureau.

Milanowski said switches have become increasingly popular in the Houston area.

“We want to identify the source of these switches in the city,” he said. “It’s over there. Someone knows, and we will proceed with the US attorney’s office to the fullest extent of the law.”

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