HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for a man accused of fatally shooting a Houston officer said Monday that their client has a history of mental illness, as a judge ordered him to remain jailed without bond.
Arturo Solis, dressed in yellow jail clothing, said nothing during a short court hearing before state District Judge Danilo Lacayo. Solis is charged with capital murder in the shooting death Saturday of Sgt. Christopher Brewster.
Anthony Osso, one of Solis’ court-appointed attorneys, told reporters afterward that Solis cried during the hearing. Osso described Solis as quiet and said he didn’t appear to be an assertive individual.
Osso said Solis had been diagnosed as mentally ill when he was in the juvenile system, but he was still learning some of the specific details about his history with mental illness.
“We always ask that the public wait to hear all the facts in the case,” Osso said. “We’ve lost an officer, and that’s difficult for everybody. We as a society don’t like to see this kind of violence occur. I think facts will come out about Mr. Solis in the future and we’ll just see how it plays out.”
Solis’ father, Roberto Solis, told the Houston Chronicle his son showed signs of mental illness as a teenager and had armed himself recently after someone broke into his home.
John Brewer, one of the prosecutors handling the case for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said he was not aware of any mental illnesses in Solis’ history. Solis has several prior misdemeanor arrests, including for assault of a family member and burglary of a vehicle.
Brewer said the 32-year-old officer’s fatal shooting has been “devastating.”
“All we can try to do is say a prayer for the family, keep them in our hearts and our minds and see that justice is done,” Brewer said.
Police officials said that Brewster was shot just before 6 p.m. Saturday as he was responding to a domestic violence report.
Police received a call from a female victim who said her boyfriend was assaulting her and that he was armed with two firearms. Police didn’t find the couple at the provided address, but Brewster spotted them three streets away on Houston’s east side.
According to a probable cause affidavit read in court Monday, Brewster got out of his vehicle and saw the woman pointing in the direction of Solis.
“The officer, according to the defendant, had both hands up, waving to the defendant as if to say hi,” Brewer said. “The officer did not have his weapon out, did not shoot at the defendant. At that time, the defendant pulled his gun and emptied his gun at or into the victim.”
Solis fled on foot but was captured a short time later at a nearby elementary school. Police recovered both handguns that Solis had, one by the scene of the shooting and the other at the school.
Solis apparently made several statements after his arrest inquiring about Brewster, saying “something along the lines of, ‘Is he OK?’” according to the affidavit.
Solis also told police after his arrest that if people had come outside when he was fleeing, “he may have chosen to shoot them as well,” according to the affidavit.
Solis’ next court hearing is set for Feb. 12.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70