A heroic Houston police officer who took action earlier this year to stop a man appearing to open fire at a children’s dance competition has spoken out for the first time.
Sergeant Kendrick Simpo was working a second job as a security guard at the Galleria Mall in Houston’s Uptown District on February 5 when he received a call about a man with a gun walking near Macy’s.
He and another security guard quickly made their way to the department store, but as he ran, he said he was careful not to startle hundreds of children and adults who had gathered for a dance competition that only counted a few hundred meters from Macy’s.
“I knew the Westin Ballroom had a dance competition with young kids, so I didn’t pull my gun because I didn’t want to run to the Macy’s area, which is behind the ballroom, with the gun,” Simpo said FROM 13
Soon, he said, he saw the suspect — who was later identified as Guido Herrera — just about 10 feet from the entrance to the Westin Ballroom, where the competition was being held.
“I quickly went up to him and attacked him,” Simpo said. “And my first reaction was to make sure I got the gun. No matter what I’ve packed, make sure I’ve packed this gun.’
‘I had in my head [that] I would get shot, I just had to endure the pain. I knew it was going to hurt, and I thought, “Whatever I do, I can’t let go of this gun.”
Houston Sgt. Kendrick Simpo recounted how he was working as a security guard on February 5 when he shot a man with a rifle just yards from a children’s dance competition
According to authorities, Guido Herrera (pictured) was carrying the rifle, 120 rounds of ammunition, a handgun and a Bible with a bookmark from the Old Testament about Sodom and Gomora
Simpo said he “rushed after” to attack Herrera out of competition and was able to get his gun aimed at the ceiling before reinforcements arrived to subdue him
Simpo said he knew he would be outnumbered if he came up against a man with a gun, which was dangerous as he only wore a soft vest and had a pistol with him.
“I knew if someone had a gun, and they were at the mall, I was pretty much outnumbered because all I had at the time was a pistol. My pistol and his rifle, I was already at a disadvantage.’
But he said, “I definitely know what I signed up for 20 years ago when I got into this profession.”
Eventually Simpo was able to aim Herrera’s gun at the ceiling as he tried to subdue him, and reinforcements soon arrived and arrested Herrera without a single shot being fired.
Authorities at the scene later searched Herrera, who was wearing a black Punisher shirt, tactical pants, gloves and a spiked leather mask.
They found that he was carrying the rifle, 120 rounds of ammunition, a handgun, and a Bible with the Old Testament bookmark on Sodom and Gomorah Houston Chronicle.
A little over a month later, Herrera was arrested again after going to FBI headquarters in Houston and requesting a meeting with the director of the FBI, but law enforcement officials found a gun in his car. He was sentenced to a year in prison last week
A little over a month later, Herrera was arrested again after going to FBI headquarters in Houston and requesting a meeting with the director of the FBI.
Police officers became suspicious and found a gun in his car.
But Herrera was ultimately charged with just two counts — disorderly conduct and unlawful carrying of a weapon — for the two incidents.
Officials say he neither fired a gun nor pointed it at anyone, so he cannot be charged with anything more serious.
“His circumstances kind of fell into the gaps,” said prosecutor Barbara Mousset. ‘He took advantage of some legal subtleties.
“He had the right to possess that firearm and ultimately that was the only charge we could charge him with.”
In court, the Chronicle reports, his attorney also argued that Herrera was just “a gun-loving Texan,” noting, “He has a right to own those guns, whether we want them or not.”
His attorney, Armen Mejanian, also claimed Herrera was afraid of his neighbors and ex-girlfriend, and that he felt law enforcement had let him down after his previous 911 calls.
So, he said, he went to the FBI office.