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Off-duty officer shoots burglar who attacked with automotive tool
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By Mike Glenn and John D. Harden, Houston Chronicle

A Houston police officer shot a man who allegedly attacked him with a metal rod after breaking into his northwest-side home, authorities said.

Officer B. Johnson had finished up his shift at HPD's South Central Patrol Division about 10:45 a.m. Thursday when his alarm company notified him that someone had broken into his home in the 6500 block of Yorkdale near Dalview, officials said.

"He came home to find a suspect with items from his home," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. "Our officer actually engaged the suspect who began to engage the officer in a physical altercation."

The man pulled out a heavy metal rod used in automotive repair work known as a "pickle fork" because of its resemblance to the smaller dining utensil. Acevado said it was clear the man intended to use it as a weapon against Johnson, who was in full Houston police uniform.

"It can lead to serious bodily injury or death," Acevado said. 

HPD officials said Johnson fired "more than once" at the burglary suspect.

Acevado warned against using a dangerous weapon on a police officer in uniform.

"You can almost be assured you're going to get shot," he said.

The suspected burglar, believed to be in his 30s, was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital for surgery. Acevado said the identity would not be released until after his family is notified.

"Our hope is the suspect can recover from his gunshot wounds," Acevado said.

The officer, a 22-year HPD vet, was not injured during the fight with the suspected burglar, police said.

Johnson was in uniform but was not equipped with a body camera. Acevado said HPD detectives were interviewing at least three people who saw what happened.

"It's a complex scene. This is an ongoing investigation," Acevado said.

Johnson was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Detectives with HPD's internal affairs and homicide division are investigating. The Harris County District Attorney's Office also launched an inquiry - both are standard practices in officer-involved shooting.

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