By PoliceOne Staff
HOUSTON — A man was arrested after police said he hired a hitman to kill a Houston officer who wrote him a number of nuisance tickets.
Police said Tuesday that in an elaborate ruse, investigators played along with the scheme and even faked the targeted officer’s death before arresting 47-year-old Mohamed Mohammed, the Houston Chronicle reported. Mohammed was charged with soliciting capital murder, authorities said in a press conference.
Chief Art Acevedo said a tipster came forward and alerted police about Mohammed’s plans back in May. Police said the targeted officer was a member of the Differential Response Team, a unit that focuses on un-kept lots, residential improprieties and ordinance violations.
The officer reportedly wrote Mohammed a number of tickets for too many vehicles at his logistics and shipping company, which ignited the suspect’s anger.
“The suspect wanted the officer dead because he believed that the officer was interfering in his business operations,” Acevedo said.
Mohammed also allegedly told a witness that it would cost “tens of thousands” of dollars to keep his property up to code.
After police were alerted to the threat, an undercover officer posing as a hitman met with Mohammed to discuss his plans. According to authorities, Mohammed initially wanted to maim the officer by tossing acid in his face before deciding that he wanted the LEO killed.
“Due to the possibility of the suspect getting more tickets and additional penalties, he ended up deciding that, ‘Naw, that’s not enough. I don’t want to just maim this officer,'” Acevedo said. “‘I don’t want to just injure this officer. I want him killed because that’s the only way that this will go away. The suspect specifically wanted to hire a hitman.”
During one after-dark meeting, Mohammed gave the undercover officer $500 with a promise of another $1,500 when the crime was completed. Police later set up a murder scene with staged photos of the officer appearing dead.
The undercover officer eventually met up with Mohammed and showed him the pictures before a SWAT team arrived and apprehended the suspect. Police found $1,500 in his pocket. Acevedo pushed for a high bond for Mohammed, who’s currently in jail.
“We talk a lot about bail in this county, that we have magistrates it seems that give out bail to violent, dangerous suspects,” he said. “And we just want the magistrates to know and the district judges who appointed them that we will be watching closely.”