Suspect Charged, Wanted in 2018 Fatal Crash at 7800 Hammerly Boulevard

Mar 18, 2019
Suspect Charged, Wanted in 2018 Fatal Crash at 7800 Hammerly Boulevard
***Note Time & Location of Investigators’ Availability**
 Charges have been filed against a suspect wanted in a fatal crash involving an 11-year-old boy that occurred at 7800 Hammerly Boulevard about 10:10 p.m. on June 8, 2018.
 
The suspect, Omar Aregnis Reyes-Ventura (H/m, 27), is charged with intoxication manslaughter, two counts aggravated assaulted causing serious bodily injury and two counts intoxicated assault in the 338th State District Court.  A photo of Reyes-Ventura, taken in 2014, is attached to this news release.  He remains at large at this time.

The victim, Alex Mendiola, 11, was pronounced dead at an area hospital. 
 
HPD Vehicular Crimes Division Sergeant S. Maness and Officer M. Nicotra reported:

The victim was a backseat passenger in a gray Honda Civic traveling southbound on Hammerly Boulevard as a black Ford F-150 pickup truck was traveling northbound.  The driver of the truck failed to yield the right of way while turning left and struck the Honda. 

Alex Mendiola was one of three juvenile backseat passengers not properly restrained in seat belts.  He was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital.  Another boy, 6, and the female front seat passenger 28, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.  A girl, 4, and the female driver, 28, were not seriously injured.
 
The driver of the Ford (Reyes-Ventura) was not injured.  He consented to a blood draw and was questioned and released. 
 
Following the return of the blood results, Reyes-Ventura was found to be intoxicated at the time of the crash and subsequently charged in this incident.
Suspect Reyes-Ventura remains charged and wanted at this time.  Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact the HPD Traffic Enforcement Division at 713-247-5900 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
 
At 2:30 p.m. TODAY (Monday, March 18), officers with the HPD DWI Task Force and HPD Vehicular Crimes Division will be available to answer media questions about this incident in the first floor Media Briefing Room of the HPD Edward A. Thomas Building at 1200 Travis.
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“We stand as one.” Houston will honor the New Zealand shooting victims tonight.

Mar 18, 2019
“We stand as one.”
Houston will honor the New Zealand shooting victims tonight.
WHAT:In remembrance of the victims killed during the heinous attacks on two New Zealand mosques, Mayor Turner has authorized the lights of Houston city hall and the “Montrose” bridges over the Southwest Freeway to be turned dark blue with red and white accents, the colors of the country’s flag.
WHEN:This evening at dusk 
Friday, March 15, 2019
WHERE:Houston City Hall and the “Montrose” bridges over the Southwest Freeway.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:In a show of unity Friday afternoon, Mayor Sylvester Turner joined the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, Interfaith Ministries, American Jewish Committee and HPD Chief Acevedo to condemn the deadly attacks on two New Zealand mosques.
“We stand as one,” Mayor Turner said during the news conference. “We say to hatred in the face of evil, you will not win.”
HPD also announced its officers would patrol near Houston area mosques and make contact with staff and members as a safety measure.
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Mayor Sylvester Turner’s statement on action taken by HFD cadets

Mar 8, 2019
Mayor Sylvester Turner’s statement on action taken by HFD cadets 
HOUSTON –  Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the following statement today after HFD cadets filed discrimination and retaliation complaints against the mayor and fire chief.

“These are employment decisions based on the financial constraints of the city.  My efforts to save the city from the financial ruin posed by Prop B are solely responsive to the needs and desires of the residents of Houston. Complaints by fire cadets of discrimination and retaliation will be handled by the Office of Inspector General like any other complaint.

“But these theatrics are nothing more than a distraction and do not help us to solve real financial challenges. I am confident that people can see what the Fire Fighters Association is doing:  It is ironic that at the same time that we were sitting down with Council Members to discuss the implementation of Prop B, this demonstration was being held.  Nevertheless, I remain focused on protecting the interest of this city, because there is simply too much at stake.”
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REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD

Mar 8, 2019

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD: BARC MICROCHIP HELPS REUNITE OWNER WITH PUP MISSING FOR OVER A YEAR – BARC OFFERING MICROCHIP SERVICES FOR $10 TOMORROW!

Thanks to a microchip and a kind BARC volunteer, a yellow lab named Max was reunited with his owner after going missing more than a year ago.

“Max was in the median about to be hit by a truck, licking a Styrofoam lid when I found him,” said Tina Stone, a volunteer at BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center.  “He walked right up to me, and I fed him a can of dog food which he practically inhaled.  I’m thrilled he’s been reunited with his family after all this time.”

Lucky for Max, his owner made sure he had a BARC-implanted microchip containing his pet licensing records and contact information for his owner. Upon contacting the owner, BARC staff learned that he had been looking for his lost pet for more than a year. Thanks to the implanted microchip, BARC was able to happily reunite Max with his family the same day.

“BARC wants every story to end as happy as Max’s,” said Greg Damianoff, shelter director. “Microchips are a quick and easy way to keep your pet safe and secure in the event you get separated. Every pet should have one.”

Microchip services are usually offered by the shelter for $15, however, BARC will have microchips available for the discounted price of $10 on March 8th, 15th and 29th at BARC’s wellness clinic located at 3200 Carr Street, Houston, TX 77026 from noon to 4 p.m.  Additional wellness services are available during regular scheduled clinic hours on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information please call 311.

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Robbery Suspect Charged in Incident at 8601 Martin Luther King Boulevard

Mar 8, 2019
Suspect Arrested, Charged in Incident at 8601 Martin Luther King Boulevard
A suspect arrested in an incident that led to the fatal shooting of a second robbery suspect at 8601 Martin Luther King Boulevard about 8:50 p.m. on Wednesday has been charged in this case.

Akeivyon McMillan (b/m, 17) is charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in the 337th State District Court.  A photo of McMillan is attached to this news release.

The identity of the deceased male suspect is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

HPD Homicide Division Detectives D. Crowder and A. Vinogradov reported:

Two male suspects attempted to rob a liquor store at the above address.  When one or both of them fired shots at store employees, one of the employees – who has a license to carry a handgun – shot back at the suspects. 

One suspect was pronounced dead soon after leaving the store.  The second suspect (McMillan) was later located in Baytown, Texas and charged in this case.

The store employees were not injured.  The shooting of the first robbery suspect will be referred to a Harris County grand jury.


UPDATE:  KJS  3-7-19
JFC/VHS   3-7-19
Inc #028781719
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Suspect Charged, Other Victims Sought in Incident at 6215 Tierwester

Mar 7, 2019
Suspect Charged, Other Victims Sought in Incident at 6215 Tierwester
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in an incident at 6215 Tierwester about 10:10 a.m. on Monday (March 4).  

The suspect, Johnny Dawan Hall (b/m, 27), is charged with criminal trespass in Harris County Criminal Court #15.  A booking photo of Hall is attached to this news release.  

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant M. Holbrook and Detective J. Roscoe reported:  

HPD patrol officers responded to a missing/endangered child call at an apartment at the above address and determined suspect Hall had disappeared with his five-month-old son after an argument with the child’s mother.  The child was not dressed for cold weather and the family was concerned due to Hall’s unstable behavior.  Hall and the child were located a short time later in the 3900 block of Cosby.  The child was unharmed and Hall was taken into custody without incident.   

Further investigation determined Hall had made advances toward a neighbor in the apartment complex and entered her residence while she was sleeping.  

Investigators are asking anyone who might have had similar contact with suspect Hall to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.  
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Mayor Turner announces the creation of a Smart City Advisory Council

Mar 7, 2019
Mayor Turner announces the creation of a Smart City Advisory Council
HOUSTON –   Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the creation of a Smart City Advisory Council comprised of City and regional partners today at a Greater Houston Partnership workshop on smart city planning.

The Advisory Council is charged with engaging community stakeholders, governments, academia and industry to develop a roadmap that will speed the adoption of technology and data-driven practices in the public realm. 
 A Smart City is one that uses data and emerging technologies to improve the quality of life for citizens, share information with the public, drive economic growth and build a more inclusive society. Governments and utilities across the globe are leveraging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, digital services, advanced mobility and drones to improve citizens’ lives and solve the challenges of today while also preparing to address the challenges of the future.The Advisory Council will include representatives from public and private entities and will be chaired by Elizabeth Brock, Director of External Engagement for CenterPoint Energy.


“As our major utility provider, CenterPoint Energy has always been at the forefront of technology and innovation,” Mayor Turner said. “Elizabeth has a proven track record of building consensus in our community and getting things done, and I appreciate the leadership she and CenterPoint Energy have demonstrated in working to build a strong foundation as we grow our Smart City capabilities.”The primary aim of the Advisory Council is to establish a roadmap of strategies, processes and standards to drive Houston’s Smart City efforts forward. “We’re seeking to create a common vision and leverage technology to deliver a world-class customer experience,” said Brock.The Advisory Council will seek to align the roadmap to the Resilience Strategy the City is currently developing as a member of 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Marissa Aho, the newly-appointed Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Houston, said “Technology is a great enabler for resilience but can also pose a significant risk as society becomes more technology-dependent. The Smart City Advisory Council will help the City leverage technology to its maximum resilience benefits while minimizing risk.”Houston has been a pioneer in the usage of Smart City technology and recently launched a Smart City webpage to showcase many of the projects underway.  These efforts and others led Smart Cities Dive, a government technologies publication, to declare Mayor Sylvester Turner the 2018 Leader of the Year.The City is also considered a flagship city by partnering with Microsoft – for the Microsoft Innovation Alliance initiative, and Verizon – which made Houston home to the first 5G implementation in the nation. “To do all these things, cities need help from the private sector and tech community,” stated Mayor Turner.  This announcement comes amidst growing momentum in Houston’s burgeoning technology and innovation ecosystem.

In 2017, Mayor Turner established a Technology & Innovation Taskforce to position Houston as a global innovation hub – and with the formation of Houston Exponential and the upcoming launch of the Ion, the city’s innovation hub, Houston is now making rapid strides towards that goal.  The Smart City Advisory Council will continue this mission by enabling City government and regional partners to lead by example to deliver technology that will make Houston a more attractive place to work, live and innovate. “The age of technology is here and we cannot afford to sit idle,” said Mayor Turner, “We must leap, not stroll into the future. The advisory council will set the stage for Houston to become the Smart City of the world.”
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Suspect Arrested, Charged in Shooting at 721 Janisch Road

Mar 5, 2019
Suspect Arrested, Charged in Shooting at 721 Janisch Road
Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the shooting of a man at 721 Janisch Road about 9:40 p.m. on Sunday (March 3).  

The suspect, Marriett Marshall (b/m, 66), is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in the 338th State District Court.  

A booking photo of Marshall is attached to this news release.  

The victim, 32, was transported to an area hospital where he is expected to survive.  

HPD Major Assaults & Family Violence Division Officers L Kauffman and C. Bowling reported:  

HPD patrol officers responded to a shooting call in the parking lot of an apartment complex at the above address and found the victim had been shot one time in the chest during an apparent narcotics transaction.  Paramedics transported the victim to an area hospital.  

Further investigation identified Marshall as the suspect in this case and he was taken into custody without incident. 
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Mayor Turner’s open letter to Houston about Prop B and moving forward

Mar 4, 2019
Mayor Turner’s open letter to Houston about Prop B and moving forward
Dear Fellow Houstonians, 
 
Everyone loves firefighters, and everyone wants them to be paid commensurate to what other firefighters are making around the state. Prop.B goes even further, and links firefighters pay to that of Houston police officers even though the organizational structures and promotional requirements are vastly different. Prior to and after the passage of Prop B, the city’s finance department and the Controller’s Office said the costs would exceed $100 million a year.

Because no funding source was included in Prop B. and the City is required to balance its books by June 30th of each year, the implementation of the voter approved measure places the City in a dilemma; increase the firefighters’ pay by 29 percent which will invariably cause a reduction in personnel and services, seek a determination from the court on whether Prop B conflicts with state law which could only be done after voters approved it, and/or negotiate with the union to phase in the costs of Prop B over multiple years. 

As mayor, I have made sure the city is pursuing all three paths. We have forwarded to the Union a proposal that would phase in the costs of Prop B over five years which would substantially eliminate the need to lay off or reduce services beyond the normal budgetary process. All pay raises would be retroactive to January 1, 2019. If there is an agreement, it would mitigate the continuation of any court action, and this entire matter would be behind us.
 
At the same time, the City, in the lawsuit filed by the Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU) in Nov. 2018, asked the court to rule on the legality of Prop. B. If the court rules as a matter of law, Prop B was preempted by state law, the HPOU lawsuit is terminated subject to appeal and Prop B is no longer before us.
 
However, until the court rules, the City is obligated to move forward in implementing Prop B with the effective date being January 1, 2019.
 
Since there have been some misstatements and confusion on the legal action the City has or has not taken surrounding Prop B, let me take a moment to lay out what we have done.
 
The Houston Police Officers’ Association sued the City of Houston and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 341 on November 30, 2018. In the 2018 HPOU litigation, the court is asked to determine whether Prop B can stand, since it conflicts with state law.  The City answered and appeared in the case as required and, later, also made an affirmative claim within the HPOU suit, seeking a declaration that Prop B conflicts with state law.

No new, separate lawsuit was filed by the City. No new parties were added in the 2018 HPOU lawsuit by the City. No money damages are sought by the City.
 
The Houston Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, Local 341, the firefighters’ union, sued the City of Houston in 2017 seeking a pay raise for fiscal year 2018 after the union, not the City, walked away from the collective bargaining table. The union ignored the City’s requests that it return to the table. The union sued the City and asked a state court judge to set (not negotiate) all employment terms.
 
The City is not mounting a broadside attack, constitutional or otherwise, on the Fire and Police Employee Relations Act (FPERA). In fact, the City wants the firefighters’ union to return to the bargaining table so that a Judge is not asked to set pay without reference to any standards.
 
In my 30 years of public service, I have supported collective bargaining. I fought for collective bargaining for firefighters in the Texas Legislature in 2005. To this day, I am committed to collective bargaining.
 
Lastly, if an agreement cannot be reached with the union to phase in the costs of Prop B over multiple years and if the court does not timely rule on the legality of Prop B, the City is already defining parity between police and fire, re-programming its systems and preparing for a reduction in force as needed to balance the budget.
 
On January 15, 2019, the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 341 and Intervenor-Plaintiffs Patrick “Marty” Lancton, Gabriel Angel Dominguez, Roy Anthony Cormier, Brian Ray Wilcox, and Delance Shaw filed brand new claims in the 2018 HPOU litigation against new parties: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Finance Director Tantri Emo, Controller Chris Brown, and all elected city council members. The firefighters and their union seek the immediate implementation of Prop B.
 
None of the elected officials needed to be sued. Director Emo, who is not an elected official and does not “sit” at or on City Council, did not need to be sued. Although the process for radically restructuring the City’s Human Resource System and payroll methodology to accurately issue salary checks is difficult, 
it is well underway and will be done. Moreover, the City plans to make payments under Prop B effective as of January 1, 2019. 
 
The fact is that the City did not start any of the pending litigation involving the firefighters. Firefighters sued the city to destroy the City’s historic pension reform; not just the part relating to firefighters, but all the reforms for all municipal employees. That litigation could add hundreds of millions of dollars to the City’s costs, scuttle some or all the employee pension systems and financially ruin the City. Fire fighters sued the City in 2017 prior to Prop B, asking a court for a pay raise for the fiscal year 2018.  They have not dropped that lawsuit. They caused Prop B to be enacted. Now, again, in the 2018 HPOU litigation, they have sought the immediate implementation of Prop B as a way to expedite the receipt of money from the taxpayers.
 
Prop B requires that the City substantially increase firefighter compensation.  It was misrepresented to the public as bringing about pay “parity.” In fact, Prop B requires that firefighters benefit if police officers get benefits or raises, even though their working conditions are completely different, but police officers do not benefit from firefighter benefits or raises.
 
Citizen-driven charter amendments like Prop B are not always carefully-drafted, much less fully-vetted documents when they arrive at City Hall.  When they are not, there is next to nothing a city can do to correct even the most glaring constitutional and legal errors in a citizen-driven charter amendment. A city’s only meaningful opportunity to save itself from unconstitutional additions to the City Charter, or obvious efforts like Prop B, comes after the proposed charter amendment passes. After an election, such determinations should be made by our courts.
 
The City contends that Section 24 to Article IX of the City Charter, approved by voters on November 6, 2018, as Proposition B (“Prop B”), is preempted by State law because:
 
1.      Chapter 174,  the State of Texas’ collective bargaining law, contains an express preemption clause that states, “(t)his chapter preempts all contrary local ordinances, executive orders, legislation, or rules adopted by the state or by a political subdivision or agent of the state, including a personnel board, civil service commission, or home-rule municipality” and Prop B is contrary to the provisions of Chapter 174;

2.      If not expressly preempted, Prop B is impliedly preempted because it frustrates both the express policies of the State of Texas stated in LGC Section 174.002, and numerous other provisions of LGC Chapter 174 regarding compensation, bargaining, and conditions of employment; and

3.      Prop B is void under art. XI, § 5 of the Texas Constitution because it is inconsistent with the general laws of the State of Texas.
 
In this case, the City has asked a court of law to have the final say. That is how our system of law should work.
 
Let me end where I started. We love and respect our firefighters and want them to be appropriately compensated. Having said that, I don’t believe the voters intended to place our City in financial turmoil, cause our credit rating to tumble and increase the costs of City debt.

As mayor, I have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the financial stability of this city and that includes presenting a balanced budget. Prop B threatens to erase all the financial gains of pension reform and place us in a financial crisis. As a city, we cannot let that happen.

We must work together to find a path forward no matter how bumpy the course or how hot the rhetoric. 
 
There is just too much at stake.
 
Sincerely,

Sylvester Turner
Mayor
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Mayor Turner joins tribute to fallen heroes at the Houston Fire Dept. 2019 Memorial Ceremony

Mar 4, 2019
Mayor Turner joins tribute to fallen heroes at the Houston Fire Dept. 2019 Memorial Ceremony 
HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena, the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341, and many others to remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the Houston Fire Department.

The 2019 Houston Fire Department Memorial Program honored 73 individuals who served the City of Houston and died from injuries suffered in the line of duty. 


The first HFD line of duty death took place in 1899 and the most recent firefighter death happened in 2017.  The memorial service at the HFD Memorial Garden included a reading of each name and the placement of roses and helmets to honor their memory.

“This is one of the times the City comes together to pay respects to firefighters who gave their lives while serving. We also pay our respects to their family members who lost loved ones,” Mayor Turner said. “As a city, we will not forget and we’re forever grateful for their service and sacrifice.”

“When men and women in the line of duty give of themselves, I think we can all agree 100 percent that you take the time to remember, you never forget their sacrifice. I don’t care what battles we’re going through now, that should never get in the way of remembering firefighters, police officers or municipal workers who gave their life on behalf of the city,” the mayor continued.

“Tomorrow we can work on all those other things, it is important that our city maintain civility, respects and appreciation for those who give of themselves in the line of service,” the mayor said. “I separate this day, and that has nothing to do with all the other issues we’re tackling 
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