HPD officer cleared in shooting death of EMC native

HOUSTON— The Houston Police officer who fatally shot an area wrecker driver during an altercation at a Kingwood apartment complex has been no-billed by a grand jury in Harris County.

Officer Ryan Gardner was working an extra job as a security officer at the Woodland Hills Village Apartment Homes in the 2000 block of Lake Hills in Kingwood when his confrontation with 38-year-old John Barnes began.

HPD spokesman Victor Senties said Gardner, who was in uniform, was nearing the end of his shift and was completing his rounds in the complex when he heard what sounded like a domestic altercation. He approached to find Barnes, a wrecker driver originally from East Montgomery County, in an altercation with a woman.

The officer approached, Senties said, and twice commanded Barnes to come to him. Barnes ignored the officer, he said, which escalated the situation to a physical confrontation before Barnes managed to remove the officer’s Taser from its holster.

According to Senties, Barnes pointed the weapon at the officer and said “You’re dead,” at which time the officer, fearing for his safety, pulled out his gun and fired an undetermined number of times.

Barnes was pronounced dead on the scene around 10 p.m.

Gardner is a seven-year HPD veteran, who was assigned to the Northeast Patrol Division at the time of the shooting. He was placed on three days administrative duty, which is standard in such a situation.

The case was investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions, as well as the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

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