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Houston police finish criminal probe of deadly drug raid

The Associated Press — By JUAN A. LOZANO - Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police have finished their criminal investigation into a deadly January drug raid that killed a couple and injured five officers and have turned over their findings to prosecutors, the department's police chief announced Wednesday.

"As stated at the onset, we will leave no stone unturned in our effort to determine the facts. Today is a major step in that direction and we continue to be committed to a relentless pursuit of truth, transparency, and accountability," said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

He declined to comment on the investigation's findings.

Acevedo said internal police department investigations on the drug raid are ongoing.

During the Jan. 28 raid, four officers were shot in a gunfight that killed 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, the couple who lived in the home. A fifth officer injured his knee during the shooting.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her office is still conducting its own investigation and all evidence ultimately will be presented to a grand jury. In Harris County, where Houston is located, all officer-involved shootings are presented before a grand jury.

"We will be thorough and methodical, because the people of Harris County deserve the truth," Ogg said.

The raid came under scrutiny after allegations that one of the officers who was shot, Gerald Goines, lied in order to obtain the search warrant.

Goines had alleged in the search warrant that a confidential informant had bought heroin at the home. But the informant told investigators no such drug buy ever took place.

Goines and another officer connected to the raid, Steven Bryant, were relieved of duty. Both officers later retired.

Prosecutors have dismissed more than 30 court cases linked to Goines and Bryant as part of an ongoing review of more than 2,000 of their cases.

The FBI is conducting an investigation to determine whether any civil rights were violated as a result of the raid and shooting.

Family and friends of Tuttle and Nicholas have said the two, who were married for 20 years, were not criminals. They have angrily dismissed the allegations that the couple was selling heroin and had fired on officers while defending an illicit business.

Attorneys for the families of the slain couple are conducting an independent investigation of the raid.

Autopsy reports released earlier this month showed that benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, was found in Nicholas' bloodstream, while metabolites of marijuana were found in Tuttle's bloodstream.

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