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A Houston police officer spoke out for the first time about thwarting a potential mass shooting earlier this year, when a man with a rifle and 120 rounds of ammunition was spotted in a mall near a children’s dance competition.
“I quickly bum rushed, tackled him. And my first reaction was to make sure that I get a hold of the rifle. No matter what I grabbed, make sure I grabbed that rifle,” Houston Sgt. Kendrick Simpo told ABC 13. “I had in my mind (that) I was going to get shot. I just had to bear the pain. I knew it was going to hurt, and I was like, ‘Whatever I do, I cannot let go of this rifle.'”
Simpo said he was working a second job at The Galleria mall in Houston’s Uptown District Feb. 5 when he heard a call about a man with a rifle near Macy’s at the mall.
He and a security guard made their way toward Macy’s, and Simpo noted that he took special measures to not startle the hundreds of children and adults gathered for the dance competition, which was just a few hundred feet away from the department store.
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“I did know there was a dance competition with little kids going on at the Westin Ballroom, so I didn’t pull my weapon out because I didn’t want to be running towards the Macy’s area, which is past the ballroom area, with the gun out and startle anyone,” Simpo explained.
He saw the suspect, Guido Herrera, near the Westin Ballroom’s entrance and tackled him.
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“I knew if a person did have a rifle, and they were inside the mall, I was pretty much outnumbered because all I had was a handgun at the time. My handgun and his rifle, I was already at a disadvantage,” he said.
Simpo was able to point the suspect’s gun toward the ceiling while trying to subdue him. Backup soon arrived and arrested Herrera without a single shot being fired, ABC 13 reported.
“I definitely know what I signed up for 20 years ago when I got into this profession,” Simpo said.
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Police found that Herrera brought a rifle, Bible, 120 rounds of ammunition and a handgun to the mall, according to the outlet. Herrera was charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced last week to one year in jail, according to ABC 13.
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Just over a month after the incident at the mall, Herrera went to the Houston FBI headquarters and requested a meeting with the director of the FBI. Law enforcement officials found a gun inside his car during that incident. He was again charged with a misdemeanor because he did not shoot the weapon or point it at anyone.