SPRING, Texas (FOX 26) - Harris County deputies are investigating an early morning shooting that left a former deputy dead at the hands of his son.
The shooting occurred at about 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday at a home on Meadowhill Court in Spring.
The 22-year-old son told investigators he shot his dad, Brian Merritt, 53, in order to defend his mom, who was being assaulted by her husband, according to deputies.
Michael Merritt told FOX 26 his dad was struggling with alcoholism and depression when this incident happened.
“My dad was seeing a psychologist,” said Michael. “He was seeing numerous people to help him. He was taking medication to help him.”
The Harris County Sheriff Brian Merritt died at his home after being shot by his son.
“The son contacted us, and he did disclose that he had shot his father during a disturbance,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
Deputies say Merritt served 29 years with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and resigned in March, 2017.
“It’s always tragic when anyone loses their life, but especially somebody that for many many years served the residents of Harris County,” said Gonzalez.
Michael Merritt says his dad had also been active duty in the military.
The former deputy’s son and wife were taken in for questioning in the early morning hours, then released.
Brian Merritt’s dad says his son had mental health issues.
“Where do you go for help when you’re these people with PTSD and all this?” asked Billy Joe Merritt, Sr.
Neighbor Emily Vaca says there was a series of complaints against the former deputy.
“Cops got called out here quite a few times to that particular house,” said Vaca, pointing at Merritt’s home. “He was a mean guy. I do know that for fact.”
Michael Merritt was seen hugging relatives outside his parents’ home after admitting to detectives that he shot his dad to protect his mom.
“I’m fine for now, but my mom is not, so I really need to- we all really need to take care of her,” said Michael.
The Harris County Sheriff’s office will present the evidence from this case to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether any charges should be filed.