The difference between being a white police officer pointing a gun versus being a black man pointing a gun: compare the results of former police officer David James Vitrella’s stand off with Houston SWAT with the death of Reginald Sumbler this past August.
Vitrella was not killed by the shots fired by multiple police officers when he pointed a gun at them. Reginald Sumbler was. Vitrella had broken in and held his wife hostage. Reginald Sumbler had called to report that he was suicidal and needed help.
Former police officer charged in standoff
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
A former police officer who surrendered after a standoff with Houston SWAT members last week has been charged in connection with breaking into a home and holding his ex-wife hostage at gunpoint, law enforcement officials said Monday.
David James Vitrella, 36, of Houston, is charged with aggravated assault on a public servant, aggravated kidnapping and burglary with intent to commit another felony, said John Cannon, a spokesman with the Houston Police Department.
Vitrella is free on a total of $90,000 bail, court staff said. He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 13.
A magistrate judge imposed an emergency protective order Nov. 22 prohibiting Vitrella from going to his ex-wife’s office and home and harassing her in any manner, such as by phone, officials said.
He could not be reached for comment.
Vitrella is a former West University Place police officer as well as a former University of Texas police officer, said Jane Waters, Harris County Assistant District Attorney.
Cannon said Vitrella allegedly broke into a home in the 900 block of Pecore about 1 p.m. Nov.21. He apparently pointed a gun at a man who lived in the home and threatened to shoot and kill him, Cannon said. The man ran from the home unhurt and called police.
Vitrella found his ex-wife in the home, Cannon said, and held her hostage in a back room of the house.
“At one point, he pointed his weapon at one police officer,” Cannon added.
He surrendered to SWAT officers about five hours later. No shots were fired and no one was injured.