SEARCH WARRANT: What HPD thought it would find at alleged drug house in SE Houston

HOUSTON, Texas -- A deadly shootout that injured five narcotics police officers serving a search warrant on a house in Houston underlines the dangers of such operations, primarily because the officers are entering unknown territory, experts said a day after the violence.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the officers "immediately came under fire" upon entering the home in the 7800 block of Harding on the city's southeast side Monday afternoon. The suspects were killed. Four of the officers were shot and a fifth suffered a knee injury.

"Two things you know about police work: It can be tremendously boring 98 percent of the time and extremely dangerous and dynamic 2 percent of the time," he said Tuesday at a news conference. "But we know that they are always in danger and it's a dangerous business we are in."

According to the warrant obtained exclusively by ABC13, police believed the occupants were selling heroin out of the home, based on a tip from a confidential informant.


An officer reportedly witnessed the informant buy heroin at the home on Harding. The informant described a man in the home, drugs and a weapon.

The warrant identified the home in detail, but did not name the alleged suspects.

The unnamed man was described as a white male, about 55 years old, roughly 5'11" and 180 pounds.

Dennis Tuttle, 59, and his wife Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were killed in a gun battle when officers tried to serve the warrant.

TIMELINE: 4 officers shot serving narcotics warrant
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Here is how the officer-involved shooting in southeast Houston unfolded.

Nine narcotics detectives backed up by at least six patrol officers surrounded the home on Harding Street just before 5 p.m. on Monday.

After a 54-year-old officer, the lead investigator on the case, broke open the front door, a 33-year-old officer armed with a shotgun entered the residence and was immediately attacked by a pit bull, Acevedo said.

He said that the officer being attacked shot and killed the dog.

One of the suspects, Tuttle, charged from the back of the house firing a .357-caliber Magnum revolver at the officer, hitting him in the shoulder.

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HPD Chief Acevedo describes moments during deadly shootout between suspects and officers

"He went down and fell on the sofa in the living room," Acevedo said of the wounded officer. "A female suspect went towards that officer, reached over the officer and started making a move for his shotgun."

Another officer who entered the house was allegedly shot by Tuttle.

Acevedo said officers opened fire, killing Nicholas and engaged in a gun battle with Tuttle.

He said the lead investigator who breached the door, entered the house and was also shot.

"After we had two officers down and another shot, the remaining officers ... started laying down cover fire, left positions of cover themselves and, I believe, they heroically pulled their fellow officers out of harm's way," Acevedo said.

He said Tuttle followed the retreating officers to the front door and continued to fire at them before he was shot and killed.

Police recovered two shotguns and three rifles from the residence and seized marijuana and a white powder they believe to be either cocaine or the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, Acevedo said.

All of the officers involved are undercover narcotics officers. Their names will not be released.

WHAT WE KNOW: Details on the injured officers

The officers will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard for police after an officer-involved shooting.

The investigation is ongoing.

RAW: HPD Chief and doctor give update on officers' conditions
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Doctors give update on officers injured in shooting.

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