On Wednesday, we ran a column by Jacob Sullum about the recent murder of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas in a botched, no-knock raid by the Houston Police Department.
To recap, an anonymous tip came in about drug activity at 7815 Hard(y)ing Street.
The police supposedly sent a “confidential informant” (CI) into the home to do a drug buy.
According to the police report, the CI was paid to purchase heroin from the home and returned with a substance that tested positive for heroin.
An HPD officer swore in his report that a narcotics officer watched the CI enter the home and purchase the heroin.
A warrant was issued and hours later on January 28th, a team of police wearing black tactical gear broke down Tuttle’s door and immediately shot his dog with a shotgun.
Tuttle responded by drawing a revolver and shot the black-clad, shotgun-wielding intruder that just killed his dog.
Tuttle’s wife, seeing her husband engaged in combat, attempted to grab the shotgun from the wounded cop and was shot dead.
Tuttle returned fire and was murdered as well.
Five members of the no-knock raid team were wounded. One of the wounded officers had merely twisted his ankle.
The residents of 7815 Harding, a couple of 21 years with no record of drugs or violence, were left dead along with their dog.
No heroin was found in their home. HPD announced afterwards that marijuana and a “white powdery substance” was found in the home, but did not specify amounts.
What was found differs vastly from the reports of the Confidential Informant who described bags of heroin prepared for distribution.
While Houston Police Department’s policy on body cameras “mandate that the body worn cameras must be turned on before taking law enforcement action,” HPD’s police chief, Art Acevedo initially stated that the raid officers did not wear body cams, however he recently changed his story and said they are now reviewing footage of the raid.
But here’s where things get interesting.
After this raid became national news thanks to the loud-mouthed police union president, Joe Gamaldi, Internet sleuths and independent journalist began looking into the suspicious circumstances.
Gamaldi, stated, “We are sick and tired of having dirtbags trying to take our lives . . . enough is enough. And for those who are out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, well just know we’ve all got your number now and we’re going to be keeping track of all y’all.”
Well it just may turn out that in this case, the Houston cops, clad in tactical gear, were the enemy and killed a couple who were merely defending their home and each other . . . something any red-blooded American would do.
Thanks to the investigative journalism of News Now Houston combined with local sources who, for their safety have requested anonymity, it appears that the Houston Police Department raided the wrong home.
The raid that killed the Dennis Tuttle and his wife, Rhogena, was carried out of 7815 Harding Street a wooden, white home in a low income area.
The location was described by the Confidential Informant as “hardened” with sophisticated security cameras.
Tuttle’s home did not fit that description at all.
But another home does . . . 7815 Hardy Street. That’s Hardy, with a “y” not an “ing”.
7815 Hardy Street is 14 miles from the Tuttle home at 7815 Harding Street, also wooden, white and in a low income neighborhood.
The run down house on Hardy street was visited by a reporter from News Now Houston, and the home now has iron fencing and a sophisticated camera network – which fits the description provided by the Confidential Informant.
The fencing and cameras are new since the last Google Street drive-by in July of 2018.
The compound with several buildings and over 25 vehicles visible from the satellite view has several addresses including 7817, 7719 and 7719 W Hardy Road.
According to official tax records, the properties are listed with the owner of “Michael B. Aana, et al” and tied to a post office box associated with Houston immigration attorney Mariame M. Aana who works for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Catholic Charities.
Catholic Charities “provides food, clothing and shelter for people in need” according to its Web site.
A message was left for Ms. Aana at Catholic Charities but no response was received.
It is not known if 7815 Hardy St is owned by the Catholic Church or a relative of Ms. Aana, but it is known that the location is a suspected “trap house” within the community.
Specifically, according to a local source, the home is known as a location used to manufacture, “meth, coke and crack.”
As a manufacturing house, it is not highly trafficked but well protected. “Only the high ups” have access to the home “before the dope is distributed.” according to the source.
“People don’t go there to buy drugs. They’re not selling from that house. They get the bricks in from Mexico, cut them, re-brick and distribute to the high ups.”
The source continued, “Houston cops use prostitutes to go in and buy the drugs and then get the dope and then sex. But no prostitute or CI would walk up on the house on Hardy. It’s extremely dangerous. It’s a compound.”
HPD Chief Art Acevedo is adamant that the raid that killed the Tuttles occurred at the correct home.
Houston’s head law enforcement officer, a Cuban-born advocate for gun control and sanctuary cities, refers to reports of the raid occurring at the incorrect home as “conspiracy theories.”
However, on Thursday afternoon, a veteran Houston police officer was suspended pending an investigation into the raid, turning in his gun and badge.
HPD announced the suspended officer was mentioned in the raid warrant but was not the signing officer.
The only other officer mentioned in the report is the narcotics officer that allegedly witnessed the Confidential Informant enter the Tuttle’s home and buy heroin.
Given the evidence above and the fact that no heroin was found in the Tuttle home, there’s good reason to believe that the narcotics officer never witnessed the drug buy.
What is likely is that 7815 Harding St, the wrong address, was pulled up on Google maps by a lazy cop who filled out the request for the no-knock raid.
If the raid was intended for the compound on Hardy street, the embarrassment reaches deep.
First, the Houston Police Department would have to admit they raided the wrong home and murdered two innocent people.
Second, the HPD would be faced with disclosing the intended location of the raid, which may very well be owned by an arm of the Catholic Church that is in the business of helping illegal immigrants.
Catholic Charities in Houston supports illegal immigrants, going so far as to house them, feed them and provide them with legal support. The group’s Web site even links to advice on “sensitive locations” which give illegal immigrants guidelines on where they can be safe from arrest, interview and surveillance by ICE.
Questions would linger as to why a dilapidated home known as a dangerous trap house, with missing windows on the second floor yet surrounded by new iron fencing and surveillance equipment could be owned and managed by a Catholic charity.
Houston . . . we have a problem.
Comment below after watching the video from News Now Houston: