Hero cop recounts preventing shooting at children’s dance event: ‘I definitely know what I signed up for’

The heroic Houston cop who “bum-rushed” an active shooter at a mall-sponsored children’s dance competition in February has, for the first time, spoken out about the incident, and the details are harrowing.

Working security at Houston’s Galleria Mall was Kenrick Simpo’s second job. He’s also a sergeant in the Houston police department.

“I definitely know what I signed up for 20 years ago when I got into this profession,” Simpo told ABC 13.

So, when a call came in as he was patrolling the Uptown District mall that a man with a rifle was walking around Macy’s, he and another security guard rushed towards the department store, where they encountered hundreds of children with their parents gathered for a dance competition a few hundred feet from the store’s doors.

“I did know there was a dance competition with little kids going on at the Westin Ballroom, so I didn’t pull my weapon out because I didn’t want to be running towards the Macy’s area — which is past the ballroom area — with the gun out and startle anyone,” Simpo recalled.

The officer knew that, with only a handgun and a soft vest, he was at a “disadvantage.”

(VIDEO: ABC13/YouTube)

“I knew if a person did have a rifle and they were inside the mall, I was pretty much outnumbered because all I had was a handgun at the time,” he said. “My handgun and his rifle. I was already at a disadvantage.”

Simpo quickly spotted Guido Herrera, clad in a shirt bearing the Punisher logo, carrying a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other, just a few feet from hundreds of kids.

As if the scene couldn’t get any more terrifying, Herrera was wearing a leather mask with spikes protruding from it.

But Simpo wasn’t deterred.

“I quickly bum-rushed, tackled him,” he said. “And my first reaction was to make sure that I get a hold of the rifle. No matter what I grabbed, make sure I grabbed that rifle.”

He mentally prepared himself for a bullet wound he was certain was coming.

“I had in my mind [that] I was going to get shot,” he said. “I just had to bear the pain. I knew it was going to hurt, and I was like, ‘Whatever I do, I cannot let go of this rifle.”

Ready to embrace whatever pain Herrera could inflict on him, Simpo managed to shove the barrel of the firearm towards the ceiling and pin the would-be shooter against the wall without a single shot being fired.

Backup arrived, and in a flash, Herrera was arrested and a tragedy of unimaginable proportions was prevented.

What police discovered once Herrera was in cuffs was that, in addition to the rifle, he had a handgun of his own, as well as 120 rounds of ammunition.

And here’s where one’s blood begins to boil. Under Texas law, because Herrera failed to actually shoot anyone, he was not guilty of a felony.

He was charged with only a misdemeanor.

One month later, on March 18, reports ABC 13, Herrera – who was wanted for failing to turn up at court a month earlier – turned up at the Houston FBI headquarters.

He wanted to see the agency’s director. In his car was a gun. Once again, Herrera did not fire a shot or point the weapon at anyone.

Once again, he was charged with a misdemeanor.

As the Houston Chronicle reported, Judge Franklin Bynum noted that Herrera is “a genuinely dangerous person” and sentenced him to the Harris County jail for the maximum punishment he could legally impose under the law.

“His circumstance kind of fell in the gaps,” said prosecutor Barbara Mousset. “He took advantage of some technicalities in the law — he had the right to have that firearm and ultimately this was the only charge that we could get him on.”

“I don’t know what the future holds for you,” Bynum said to a silent Herrera. “But I’ve done the most I can do today with the rules I have. I wish you well.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, Herrera’s arrest at the FBI field office “prompted Bynum to raise his bail to $100,000 and Herrera has remained jailed since. For the FBI incident, Herrera accepted a plea agreement Monday that sentenced him to one year in the Harris County Jail, with credit for time served. The six months stemming from the disorderly conduct conviction was stacked onto that punishment.”


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