Houston, TX - A violent repeat offender who was shot by an off-duty Houston police officer at Walmart while committing an armed robbery on Wednesday should not have been out of prison.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies responded to a report of a shooting at the Walmart in the 9200-block of N. Sam Houston Parkway at about 3:06 p.m. on Jan. 10, KPRC reported.
Authorities said that an off-duty Houston police officer was inside the Walmart when 18-year-old Antonio Washington pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at the employee behind the counter at customer service.
The officer saw what was happening and engaged the suspect, KPRC reported.
She shot Washington, disarmed him, and then proceeded to perform first aid on the armed robber.
Washington was transported to Ben Taub Hospital and was listed in “stable” condition, KPRC reported.
He is facing multiple charges in connection with the incident.
“Unfortunately this individual was shot because of what he did, but our officer did everything she could do not only to protect the public but also to protect him once he was shot so I think today she’s a hero for what she did,” Houston Police Assistant Chief Bobby Dobbins told reporters afterwards.
Chief Dobbins said the officer who shot Washington is a 17-year veteran of the Houston PD, KPRC reported.
“Thanks to the heroic actions of our officer, the threat of Antonio Washington killing or seriously injuring anyone was neutralized,” the Houston Police Officers’ Union said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
The police union said that Washington has a long and violent criminal history for a man still in his teens, and if it weren’t for weak sentencing, he would have been behind bars instead of pulling a shotgun on a clerk in Walmart.
“[Yesterday's] incident could have been avoided if Antonio Washington was in prison - where he belongs,” the union said in their post.
The union said that in November of 2019, Harris County 248th District Court Judge Hilary Unger sentenced Washington 10 years of probation as deferred adjudication after he pleaded guilty to three prior violent aggravated robberies.
Washington was facing 5 to 99 years in prison for those violent robberies when Unger gave him probation, according to the union’s post.
Less than a month after he was given probation, he escaped from a juvenile correctional facility and fled.
According to the union, a felony warrant was filed for Washington’s arrest on top of three more felony warrants from the prior aggravated robbery cases.
“He could have been sentenced anywhere from 5 to 99 years in prison. Instead, he was given deferred adjudication and let back out to victimize more innocent people,” the Houston Police Officers’ Union said. “The victims of Antonio Washington's selfish, evil, and deadly behavior deserve justice. How many more examples like Antonio Washington are out there?”