Months after his heroic actions, a police officer in Houston is being praised for the critical role he played in preventing a potential mass shooting.
The incident at a Houston, Texas, mall occurred in February, but Sergeant Kendrick Simpo hadn’t publicly discussed the events of the day until last Friday, when Simpo agreed to an interview with a local news station.
Simpo, a 41-year-old police officer who works in the Houston Police Victim Services Division, said he was off-duty, working a second job at The Galleria mall, when he received a call that there was an armed man next to the Macy’s store.
After receiving the call, Simpo said he and a co-worker immediately sprung into action and headed in the direction of the store. The 14-year veteran initially wasn’t able to draw his weapon, however, because he knew there was a children’s dance competition only a few hundred feet from the store.
“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 said.
The officer also said he was distinctly aware of the disadvantage he would face in any conflict. “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.”
When Simpo reached the Macy’s store, he quickly spotted the subject: Guido Herrera, who was carrying a rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other, and was wearing a leather mask with spikes. Simpo said he didn’t waste any time in neutralizing Herrera.
“I quickly bum-rushed him, tackled him,” Simpo said. “And my first reaction was to make sure that I get a hold of the rifle. I had in my mind I was going to get shot. 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.’”
Simpo said he was able to point Herrera’s rifle upwards, without a single shot going off, and pin the man against the wall until backup arrived. Simpo said the man was then quickly arrested.
Despite being armed with a rifle, a handgun and 120 rounds of ammunition, Herrera was only charged with a misdemeanor since he hadn’t shot anyone.