The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

No drugs found in raid that claimed the life of Texas police officer

There’s some new information about that fatal drug raid in Texas that I wrote about earlier this week.

Documents released Wednesday including search warrant affidavits and a lengthy evidence inventory provide details of both the drug raid that left one Killeen police officer dead and another injured and of the crime scene investigation that followed the deadly shooting.
Police Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, 47, and Officer Odis Denton, 37, were shot as they and other officers served the narcotics search warrant just after 5:30 a.m. Friday at 1104 Circle M Dr. Apt. 3 in Killeen.
Dinwiddie died at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the intensive care unit of Scott & White Hospital.
Denton, who was shot in the femur, underwent surgery and was released from Scott & White on Wednesday.
Two other officers were hit by gunfire, but were spared injury by their protective gear.
An inventory of evidence collected over the course of about 12 hours as the crime scene was processed through the afternoon on May 9 and into the early morning hours on May 10 lists dozens of shell casings, projectiles, projectile fragments among more than 150 items gathered and documented.
Investigators also seized a glass pipe identified as drug paraphernalia, a safe, a grinder, a laptop computer, two walkie-talkies, a 9-mm pistol, and three cellphones from inside the apartment.
The evidence return does not list any drugs.

Perhaps this was a major drug operation that justified a pre-dawn, no-knock raid. But it doesn’t seem like it from the evidence found. I’d imagine that a good percentage of households in Texas have at least one firearm and that a good percentage of households elsewhere in America have cellphones and a set of walkie-talkies. The pipe suggests drug use, not distribution. KWTX says an informant allegedly saw white bags of cocaine transported in and around the house. That may well have happened, but informants are notoriously unreliable.

But all of that is mostly beside the point. The fact that the police didn’t find any drugs in the house suggests that Marvin Louis Guy didn’t know he was shooting at cops. Drug dealer or no, unless he had a death wish, it’s unlikely that a guy would knowingly fire at police officers when he had nothing in the house that was particularly incriminating. Unless we learn more, the simpler explanation is that he was awakened by armed men breaking into his home and did what he thought he needed to do to defend himself. Especially since that’s exactly what these raids are designed to do: take you by surprise. It’s yet another example — and the second in Texas in five months — of how using this sort of violence to enforce the drug laws not only unnecessarily puts citizens at risk, but puts law enforcement officers at risk as well.