'Hands off' our children: HPD chief, mayor address increase in violent crime, shootings

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Police Chief Troy Finner addressed the recent increase in violent crime and shootings during a news conference on Friday.

According to Finner, the city of Houston reported a total of 240 homicides so far this year, an increase of 40% from this last time last year. 

During the news conference, Turner and Finner were joined by Shirley Steele and Regina Carhee. 

Steele is the mother of Layla Steele. Layla was shot multiple times while holding her one-year-old son, Zeus. She passed away at the hospital. 

Carhee is the mother of Gregory Carhee, who was one of three people shot in southwest Houston on Fondren Road Wednesday night. 

Turner announced during the conference that one person, who is believed to be the shooter, is in custody in connection with the shooting on Fondren. 

"When lives are lost, families' lives are forever changed. There should be no safe place for those who are killing and hurting our children. We should all speak up, and this is where we all draw the line," Turner said on Twitter. 

"Our children, I said it as executive chief and I'm going to say it as chief, hands off. Hands off. You have two families that are ripped apart, two families on this stage that have a mother and grandmother, both of 'em, suffering from violence and in our city," said Finner. 


While the names of the suspects weren’t released, Finner called out the suspect at large in the Layla Steele shooting.

"Even though I’m not going to say your name, you know who you are – and so do we," he said. "Turn yourself in, face up to it."

Also during the news conference, Turner spoke about the ongoing situation regarding criminals being out on multiple felony bonds, as was the case in the Layla Steele shooting.

"I will say to the judges and others not to put people back on the street, who have committed three, and four, and five felonies, relying on ankle monitors to control their whereabouts, that’s unacceptable," Turner said. 

Police reported the suspect was out on seven felony bonds, was wearing an ankle monitor, and fled on foot. 


To help address the increase in violent crime and shootings, Mayor Turner says he has approved an additional $2.1 million to help HPD with overtime to increase police presence within Houston communities.