A La Marque police officer shot and killed a man Sunday who police said had threatened a resident with a sword during a burglary attempt and later attacked an officer and a police dog, officials said.

Officer Jose Santos, 29, was on paid administrative leave Monday pending the results of multiple investigations, police Chief Kirk Jackson said.

Santos has been employed by the La Marque Police Department since October 2014 and has been a police officer since June 2010, Jackson said.

Police responded to reports of a burglary in the 800 block of Retama during which a resident was threatened with the sword, Jackson said.

A 55-year-old woman told police Gregory Ray Ham, 62, pushed a sword in her face after forcing his way into her house and barricading her in a room using furniture, Jackson said.

Police freed the woman who told them Ham had fled to another structure in the same block, Jackson said.

Police warned Ham to come out of the structure or they would send in a police dog, Jackson said.

Ham refused and the dog and its handler went into the structure, Jackson said.

Ham is accused of attacking Santos and the police dog when they entered the structure, Jackson said.

“Once the armed suspect was located, the officer engaged him and subsequently discharged his firearm striking the suspect,” according to a police department statement.

Investigators don’t yet know how many times Ham was struck or how many shots were fired during the exchange, Jackson said.

Ham was pronounced dead at the scene by the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office, police said.

Both Santos and the dog were injured in the incident and were treated and released from medical care, Jackson said.

La Marque police received several calls about incidents on Retama in the week before the shooting, ranging in seriousness from criminal mischief to burglary, Jackson said.

The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office are conducting investigations into the shooting, along with a third internal investigation by the La Marque Police Department, Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.

Officials from the District Attorney’s Office Monday declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Santos was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting and that footage is being reviewed as part of the investigations, Trochesset said.

The footage will not be released until at least after it is presented to a grand jury, Trochesset said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com



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Richard Romano


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