Houston Police Department, Texas
DOD: September 21, 2006
Officer Rodney Johnson was shot and killed after taking an illegal alien into custody during a traffic stop.
Officer Johnson had stopped a large white pickup truck occupied by a man and woman on Randolph at Braniff, just south of Hobby Airport, at about 5:30 pm. He placed the male driver under arrest after he was unable to produce a drivers license. After handcuffing the male, he placed him in the backseat of the patrol car and then returned to the driver’s seat. The subject, while handcuffed and sitting in the backseat of the patrol car was able to move his hands to his front, retrieve a concealed handgun, and shot Officer Johnson in the back of the head four times. Despite being fatally wounded, Officer Johnson was able to push an emergency button, alerting dispatch to the incident.
When other officers arrived, the male was still handcuffed and sitting in the patrol car, and the weapon was recovered. The woman who was in the vehicle during the traffic stop had fled but was also located and taken into custody.
Officer Johnson was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The suspect was an illegal alien who had been deported in 1999, but illegally reentered the United States. On May 8, 2008 the suspect was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life. In addition, a federal grand jury indicted the owner of a landscaping firm who hired the suspect, accusing him of harboring an illegal alien.
Officer Johnson was a 12-year member of the Houston Police Department and had previously served as a corrections officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and as a military policeman in the US Army. He is survived by his wife, also a Houston officer, their three daughters, two sons, and mother.