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ICE Reveals Suspect in Houston Police Killing Is an Illegal Immigrant

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The suspect arrested in the killing of a Houston police sergeant is an illegal immigrant, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday.

Elmer Manzano was eventually taken into custody after police responded to a call of a domestic dispute, but not before Sgt. Harold Preston, 65, who was weeks away from retirement, was shot. Preston died of his injuries.

“Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez, 51, is a citizen of El Salvador and convicted criminal alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S. On Oct. 20, officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Houston, Texas, placed an immigration detainer with the Harris County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) on Manzano-Martinez after he was arrested for murder,” ICE said in a statement to The Texan.

Manzano’s arrest record includes allegations of assault and domestic violence dating from 1994 to 2002.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, linked that history to this week’s tragedy.

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“The killing of this police officer and violence in this household were entirely preventable crimes that could have been avoided had this person been deported at times of previous convictions,” Cuccinelli told The Washington Post. “This is an unrecoverable tragedy for the officer’s family that can never be fixed.”

The news stirred emotions on Twitter.

Would Preston be alive had Manzano been deported?

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Police had been called to Manzano’s residence twice in recent days before the fatal shooting of Preston, a 41-year-veteran, but no charges were filed.

In the incident in which Preston was killed,  Manzano and his 14-year-old son were injured in an exchange of gunshots, authorities said. Houston officer Courtney Waller was also wounded.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said officers had previously spoken with Manzano’s estranged wife, who told officers she wanted to take her things from the apartment they had shared. Police then went to speak to Manzano.

The 14-year-old unlocked the door of the apartment and reportedly told police his father had a firearm. Manzano then allegedly fired.

According to KIII-TV, Manzano was first arrested in 1994 for the alleged unlawful carrying of a firearm. The charge was dismissed after deferred adjudication, the outlet reported, citing Dallas County court records.

In 2000, Manzano was twice arrested for alleged assault and sentenced to six months in jail each time.

These incidents were followed by a May 2001 arrest for alleged felony assault. After two years of deferred adjudication, the case was dismissed.

Manzano was sentenced to 120 days in jail after pleading guilty in December 2002 to evading arrest with a motor vehicle. A protective order was issues against him was issued in 2004.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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