Story at a glance

  • Two undercover officers were approached by Keith Martin, 45, while in the middle of a police operation.
  • Believing he was reaching for a gun in his backpack, one officer shot Martin, who is now charged with misdemeanor terrorist threat.
  • Martin’s attorney said no gun was recovered from his backpack — only cleaning supplies — and is calling for a civil rights investigation.

An undercover Houston police officer reportedly shot a man for allegedly threatening him, while the victim claims he was only offering to wash the officer’s truck. 

Keith Martin, 45, survived the shooting and was charged with misdemeanor terrorist threat. The officer reportedly believed Martin had reached for a gun in his backpack just before the altercation. 

Martin allegedly approached the vehicle in a Walgreen’s parking lot at approximately 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 9, while two officers were reportedly in the middle of their undercover operation. 

Martin’s attorney, Houston-based Andre Evans, said that there was no gun in the backpack, only a cellphone and the cleaning equipment Martin used on cars. Evans stated that Martin operates a mobile car-cleaning service. 

Evans called the shooting “unjustified” and says it displayed a racial bias. “Mr. Martin was simply trying to earn a living when he was met with several bullets,” Evans said

The Houston Police Department disagrees, saying in a statement that Martin was “incredibly angry and agitated,” asking the officers to step out of the vehicle. 

From there, the officers claim that Martin reached into his bag after stating that “he had something for the officers” and then “raised the bag in a manner that looked like he had a gun in it and was about to begin firing.”

In response, the officer on the passenger’s side opened fire. Neither officer has been identified due to their undercover status. 

Martin is currently being held in lieu of a $2,000 dollar bond in the Harris County Jail.

Evans has called for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to drop the charges and is requesting a civil rights investigation. 

Published on Jan 17, 2020