(Reuters) – The FBI is investigating a Houston police drug raid last month that left two suspects dead and several officers wounded, following allegations the operation was based on false information, agency officials said on Wednesday.
Officers raided a Houston home on Jan. 28 to serve a search warrant looking for narcotics, and in an ensuing shootout the home’s occupants, Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were killed and four officers were wounded by gunfire.
In an affidavit for the search warrant, veteran officer Gerald Goines wrote before the raid that a confidential informant had reported buying heroin at the home, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has said since the raid that the search warrant contained false information and no heroin was found, but that some marijuana was discovered.
“The FBI Houston field office has opened an independent civil rights investigation into allegations that a search warrant obtained by Houston police officers was based on false, fabricated information,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Houston Police Department had previously launched an investigation into the raid, with the civil rights division of the District Attorney’s Office for Harris County, where Houston is located, also involved in the probe.
Nicole DeBorde, an attorney for Goines, said she welcomed the FBI investigation because she had doubts about the investigation overseen by Acevedo.
“The chief law enforcement officer (Acevedo) of the agency investigating the case is making comments about how the case should conclude before he even has the investigation concluded,” she said by phone.
Goines, who was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, was shot in the neck and face during the raid and has undergone six surgeries, DeBorde said. He has since been released from the hospital, she added.
Separately, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday it had launched a review of more than 1,400 criminal cases that Goines was involved in during his decades-long career.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Christian Schmollinger