HOUSTON - The attorney for the man charged in the deadly shooting of a Houston police sergeant is asking for an outside investigation because he says HPD can't handle it without bias.
Robert Soliz, 24, is charged with murder in the death of Sgt. Sean Rios. According to Chief Art Acevedo, an HPD Narcotics unit arrested Soliz in Sgt. Rios' handcuffs around 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday on the Katy Freeway.
Robert Soliz, 24, is charged with murder. (Photo: Houston Police Department)
Soliz's attorney Paul Looney spoke about the case during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
He says he was driving Soliz to surrender when several HPD patrol cars stopped them and arrested Soliz on the Katy Freeway. Looney added that he had been in contact with authorities all day, and they knew Soliz was on his way to surrender.
"I'm not an enemy of the police over the years I've represented dozens of people from HPD on dozens of things," Looney said.
He now asks that another agency like the Texas Rangers or Harris County Sheriff's Office investigates the case because they don't have a conflict of interest like the Houston Police Department.
"We can not proceed based upon assumptions, guesses," Looney said. We can't proceed because we have faith and belief in somebody we have to look at the facts in a cold, calculated, serious-minded way."
Soliz has at least one charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon and three charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, all of which are misdemeanors.
He was out on a $100 bond for unlawfully carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle when he allegedly shot and killed Sgt. Rios.
Soliz appeared in Probable Cause court Wednesday afternoon, where his bond was set at $500,000.
The charging document discussed the exchange of gunfire between Sgt. Rios and Soliz, but gave no motive for the exchange of gunfire or any reference to road rage.
"Based upon what I know I would be horrified and shocked if there is ever a conviction for my client in this case ... This is not going to play out as it's been portrayed," Looney said.
Chief Acevedo response to Looney with the following statement, saying there will be an independent investigation:
"The Houston Police Department is aware of the concerns raised by the defense attorney representing the suspect charged in the shooting death of Sergeant Sean Rios. Our department is committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation. Moreover, the Civil Rights Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is conducting a parallel, independent investigation."
Police say witnesses claimed that two Hispanic males had a confrontation with the driver of a Kia Forte, who has been identified as Sgt. Rios. Witnesses also said the driver of the Kia and the driver of the Mercedes fired shots at each other.
The witnesses then allegedly claimed one of the Hispanic males fled the scene in a light blue Mercedes, the other male in a black Chevrolet truck.
Soliz was identified as the driver of the Mercedes.
Houston police are now searching for the driver of the black Chevrolet pickup truck. They say he is person of interest in connection to the case and was seen speaking with Soliz after the shooting.
Houston police are searching for this man who is identified as a person of extreme interest in the death of Sgt. Sean Rios.
The police department released photos of the person of interest on Tuesday.
Sgt. Rios, who leaves behind a wife and four children, was a 25-year Houston Police Department veteran.