HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A shopping center became a shooting gallery as police were forced to shoot a suspect in a robbery and carjacking incident. Even before they really knew who he was, Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo made a prediction.
"When we find out his criminal history, it's a man that my officers never should have had to have taken his life because he probably belonged behind bars," said Chief Acevedo. He was right.
The suspect's name was Anthony Joe Williams. He had a lengthy criminal history that dates back to 2001. His last major crime was in May 2017 when he attempted to break into a house on Estrellita Drive. Neighbor Isiah Roberts recorded video as Williams threatened a homeowner and then police with a machete. Police shot him then too. Roberts could believe it was the same man killed after the end of a police vehicle chase on Thursday.
"I don't understand why some people get away with so much like that," said Roberts. "I don't understand exactly how bonds work."
Speaking of bonds, after the shooting in May 2017, Williams was released on a bond of $60,000 and Houston Police Officers Union president Joe Gamaldi calls that outrageous.
"We are absolutely upset that we have someone who tired to hack up our officers with a machete six-to-seven months ago and he gets a $60,000 bond which, just to let the viewers know, he has to put up $6,000 of that," said Gamaldi.
The clerk for the 230th District Court said the judge followed guidelines and bond at $100,000, but the defense attorney and the Harris County District Attoney's Office agreed to ask for it to be reduced to $60,000. Long story short, Williams made his bond. Then his story ended ultimately in a shopping center parking lot.
The district attorney's office said this shows why there need to be bail reform. According to state law, except for capital murder cases, bail can only be to make sure someone appears in court, not as punishment. There are bail guidelines, but risk to the public is only a small factor in that.