A Violent Death In Houston

The cries for justice in the death of Pedro Oregon grow louder each day in Houston.

"They're going to pay for what they did because they murdered my brother," says Susana Oregon.

Pedro Oregon was a 22-year old illegal Mexican immigrant. He was a soccer-loving father of two who was shot and killed this summer by Houston police officers during a drug raid.

"He didn't know what was happening.. and they still.. they started shooting.. killing him," says Oregon's sister.

Police arrived Pedro Oregon's apartment with a tip but not a search warrant. As they burst in one officer accidentally shot another touching off a storm of 32 more bullets all fired by the police. Oregon had a gun say investigators but he never shot it.

No drugs were found. Oregon was hit 12 times. Nine rounds struck him in the back, two through the top of his head, and one in his hand.

"It sounds to us like an execution. It's hard frankly to believe in America that this could happen," says Richard Mithoff the Oregon family lawyer.

The officers claimed
self defense, that Oregon was shot after pointing his gun at them. After a four-month investigation, Houston's police chief C.O. Bradford fired all six policemen.

"I have not seen in my opinion a case as egregious as this case," said Chief Bradford.

A grand jury indicted just one officer for a trespassing misdemeanor. The other five walked away with no charges including officer David Barrera who fired 24 shots at Oregon, pausing once to reload.

This revelation angers many who see this as a deliberate, calculated shooting.

CBS News had an expert fire 24 rounds with a similar pistol. It took him under 12 seconds. The prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury says officer Barrera followed police guidelines.

"The rule is very simple. You don't stop per the number of shots you fire. You stop when danger is over," says Ed Porter, Assistant District Attorney.

The Harris county district attorney says police are entitled to protect themselves even if they're in a home unlawfully and suggested that, if Oregon had simply surrendered, he'd be alive.

"We don't want the Pedro Oregon's, the citizens of the world to be dead. We want them to litigate the issue of the rightness or wrongness of the police conduct in the proper forum," says John Holmes, Harris County District Attorney.

That should keep protesters busy a while longer.

The family is now seeking justice through a civil lawsuit and the U.S. Justice Department, which confirms it is investigating the violent death of Pedro Oregon.

Reported By Jim Axelrod
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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