The Houston Police Department has released bodycam footage of the shootout that left an officer dead and another injured in September.
The footage, which is about 11 minutes long, shows how senior officer William “Bill” Jeffrey and Sgt. Michael Vance were shot while serving an arrest warrant to Deon Ledet.
The video shows Jeffrey and Vance introducing themselves several times as officers while standing outside Ledet’s apartment in northeast Houston. Ledet refused to come out. Moments later, shots were fired from inside the apartment. Jeffrey and Vance were immediately hit and a shootout erupted.
Jeffrey and Ledet were both killed in this shooting.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the release of this video is his promise to make footage of all officer-involved shootings available to the public, but he also said he was sharing the footage to shed light on a dangerous weapon being used in Houston streets.
The video combines the bodycam footage from the six different officers who were present at the time of the deadly shooting. Before showing the video to the media, Chief Finner asked everyone to pay particular attention to the “rapid gunfire.”
Fred Milanowski, the special agent in charge of Houston’s ATF division, said Ledet was using a gun with an auto switch. That means he can use his semi-automatic weapon like a machine gun.
An auto switch, according to Milanowski, allowed Ledet to shoot a 30-round magazine in 2.6 seconds.
“There is absolutely no reason or no room for a suspect for suspects to be armed like this,” Finner said. “This is what we’re up against and we need to do something about it.”
Milanowski said these accessories, which is a small device you attach to the back of a gun, are illegal and are a prolonged danger to the Houston community which is becoming ground zero for these type of devices.
“ATF has had seven investigations in Houston arresting people, all of them selling auto switches. We seized about 104 of these auto switches and seized 11 guns that had auto switches already attached to them,” Milanowski said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez spoke at the Tuesday press conference, saying these types of guns in the wrong hands are already dangerous and his department has seen its fair share of crimes involving guns with auto switches.
Sheriff Gonzalez said back in March, Harris County Sheriff deputies seized a gun with a switch after stopping a vehicle for reckless driving. The driver was a convicted felon, Gonzalez said.
“This is scary and dangerous stuff and these are showing up in the hands of very bad people so we need to continue to take a strong stand, whatever it takes, to protect our law enforcement officers and our community and we will do just that.”
The Attorney General’s Office said an auto switch is a machine gun under federal law and a person can be federally prosecuted for possessing an auto switch.