Houston, TX - Tavores Dwayne Henderson was wearing slain Nassau Bay Police Sergeant Kaila Sullivan's handcuffs when he made his first court appearance in connection with her murder.
Henderson, 21, was initially charged with felony murder for hitting and dragging Sgt. Sullivan, 43, with a Jeep as he was fleeing arrest on Dec. 10.
Sgt. Sullivan, a 16-year veteran-of-the-force, was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short while later.
"Tuesday night when Sgt. Sullivan lost her life, Henderson fled the scene with one handcuff on his wrist," Harris County Sheriff's Office Major Mike Lee tweeted on Thursday evening. "I bet he didn’t know Sgt. Sullivan had another set waiting on him...he’s currently at the @HCSOTexas jail & wearing HER handcuffs while on his way to court tonight!"
On Thursday night, the judge ordered that Henderson, who eluded capture for two days after the murder, be held on just $150,000 bond in connection with Sgt. Sullivan's death.
The charge was upgraded to capital murder on Friday, KTRK reported.
The fact that the murder suspect was afforded such a low bond on a murder charge outraged many law enforcement officials.
“[Shaking my head] in disbelief,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted on Thursday night. “A Police Sgt dead, suspect on the run for couple days, my team and our law enforcement partners do a phenomenal job locating & taking him into custody without incident- I simply do not understand his initial bond set at $150,000.”
Sheriff Gonzalez acknowledged that the criminal justice system “has many cogs,” and that law enforcement officers are but a piece of that system.
“But this one does not make sense to me and is disappointing,” the sheriff wrote.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that the low bond was “outrageous.”
“This coward who took the life of a hero & poses a clear & present danger to community & the people we serve,” Chief Acevedo tweeted. “Bail decisions need to be made on the basis of risk to pubic safety & of flight.”
Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi blasted the judge who set Henderson’s $150,000 bond, and demanded that he resign.
“PC magistrate that gave dirtbag arrested for murdering Sgt Sullivan is Colin Amann,” Gamaldi tweeted. “Mr Amann,you need to resign from your position as a non-elected PC court magistrate immediately. Your total lack of judgement/common sense in this case prevents you from ever sitting on that bench.”
“This is completely abhorrent for a career criminal, documented gang member who is alleged to have a killed a police officer,” the union leader said in another tweet. “Sgt Sullivan deserves better!”
A Galveston County judge ordered Henderson held on no bond for his theft offense in that county.
Because Henderson is being held on no bond for the theft offense, he will remain in jail even if he posts bond on the murder charge.
Sheriff Gonzalez said there were two other people inside the residence where Henderson was arrested, and that they may also be charged in connection with the case, KHOU reported.
Additionally, Henderson’s mother, Tiffany Henderson, and her boyfriend, Geoffrey Wheeler, were both arrested on Thursday for allegedly helping the suspect to evade arrest during his two days on the lam, KPRC reported.
According to prosecutors, Henderson went to his mother’s home after he killed Sgt. Sullivan, but she wasn’t there at the time, KTRK reported.
Although Tiffany later told investigators that she didn’t know where her son could be, security footage showed her and Wheeler dropping him off at a hotel.
Tiffany and Wheeler have both been charged with felony hindering the apprehension of a felon, KPRC reported.
The fatal altercation occurred in the 2000-block of San Sebastian Court at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, as Sgt. Sullivan and another NBPD officer were attempting to arrest a Henderson on a domestic violence warrant during a traffic stop, the Houston Chronicle reported.
As police were handcuffing him, Henderson went on the fight and managed to get away from the officers.
He then ran back to his Jeep and floored the accelerator, slamming his vehicle into Sgt. Sullivan as he fled the scene.
Sgt. Sullivan was rushed to HCA-Houston Clear Lake Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Police later discovered the suspect’s abandoned Jeep in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex, according to WFAA.
A massive search for Sgt. Sullivan’s killer led police to the Henderson’s mother’s home in Houston early Wednesday morning, the Houston Chronicle reported.
He was believed to be holed up inside the residence, but was not located when SWAT officers forced entry, the city said in a press release at approximately 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Henderson was apprehended at a residence in the 4200-block of Heritage Trail in Houston on Thursday afternoon, KHOU reported.
He surrendered after he realized police had his hideout surrounded, and subsequently confessed to having murdered Sgt. Sullivan, according to police.
Henderson said he knew that the sergeant was still partially inside his jeep when he hit the accelerator and ran her over, KHOU reported.
In addition to the capital murder charge, Henderson also faces multiple charges in other jurisdictions from preexisting cases.
According to court records, Henderson had pending charges out of Galveston, Montgomery, and Harris counties at the time of Sgt. Sullivan’s murder, KTRK reported.
In February, Henderson was charged with domestic violence in Harris County after he allegedly pointed a gun at the mother of his children and threatened to shoot her if she didn’t open the door to her vehicle to allow him to get in, KHOU reported.
When the victim complied, he allegedly choked her and threatened to “knock all her teeth out of her mouth,” according to court documents.
The woman and Henderson broke up sometime after the incident.
On Dec. 8, Henderson allegedly attacked her again after he showed up unannounced to the woman’s workplace function and threatened to assault one of her coworkers, KHOU reported.
When the ex-girlfriend attempted to leave the area, Henderson lifted her off the ground and stuffed her into his vehicle, scratching her face in the process.
He drove for several blocks before the victim convinced him to release her by telling him that the police had been contacted and were coming for him.
That incident resulted in the domestic violence warrant that Sgt. Sullivan and a fellow officer were attempting to serve on Henderson during the traffic stop on Tuesday night.
Henderson, who goes by the name “The Real Killah Dre,” appears to be quite proud of his criminal exploits, having posted his own mugshots, portions of his criminal history, and a video of him being released from jail on an earlier charge onto his various social media accounts.
“Y’all thought the kid wasn’t coming home, huh?” Henderson boasted in the video as he burst out of the front doors of the jail in celebration. “Over three counties, mother--ker! Over three motherf--king different bonds – three cases – look at this!”
He then flaunted his release paperwork, and bragged about having posted approximately $100,000 to bail himself out, the video showed.
“And the kid’s still back at it, man!” Henderson declared, fanning out a stack of $20 bills for the camera.
Houston Police Officer’s Union (HPOU) Board Member Christian Dorton shared the clip to Twitter on Wednesday.
“When they capture Tavores Henderson, don't let anyone tell you he was a good kid or use his baby photos in news articles,” Dorton wrote. “Tavores Henderson is a thieving, robbing, drug dealing, woman abusing, lowlife piece of trash, gang member.”
Sgt. Sullivan, a married mother-of-one, would have celebrated her 16th anniversary with the NBPD on Dec. 27, Nassau Bay Police Chief Tim Cromie said during a press conference.
Chief Cromie said that Sgt. Sullivan was “a police officer at heart,” and that she was always a “consummate professional.”
“Her blood ran blue,” the chief added.
She served the department as a night shift sergeant, and was also in charge of the agency’s training schedule.
“She’s going to be deeply missed by the department, by the officers, and by the community,” Chief Cromie told reporters.