Chron: Illegal-immigrant cop killer polite, calm

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I was sort of joking about how long it might take for a Chron Eye for the Illegal-Immigrant Cop-Killer Guy.

I didn’t really expect it from the newspaper.

Maybe I should lower my expectations further.

Take this headline from today’s Chronicle:

Children of slain officer share thoughts

Okay. Focus on the victims of a cold-blooded killer for a change instead of the Chron Eye treatment. Defy my worst expectations. Good.

Except the story doesn’t lead with the thoughts of the slain officer.

Instead, it took seven paragraphs to get around to the quotes from the victim’s family promised by the headline.

What led? This:

Juan Leonardo Quintero, accused of killing a police officer was calm and polite Saturday when interviewed briefly by a Houston Chronicle reporter but would not comment at all about the incident that has landed him in the Harris County Jail.

Quintero, 32, who police said has confessed to shooting veteran Houston police officer Rodney Johnson in the head on Thursday from the back of a patrol car, gave answers to a reporter’s questions that were short and provided no information.

Asked about the officer’s slaying, he immediately replied, “I can’t say anything.”

Asked if he felt any remorse, Quintero paused, then said, “I really can’t talk without my lawyer, ma’am.”

Asked whether his illegal immigration status was a factor in the shooting, Quintero again apologized politely and said he couldn’t comment. The interview ended shortly after.

After Johnson stopped Quintero for speeding near Hobby Airport on Thursday, Quintero was handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car. Police said Quintero was able to get his cuffed hands in front of himself, draw a concealed pistol and shoot Johnson four times in the head.

The headline promised thoughts from the family of the victim of the illegal-immigrant cop killer. And the story eventually delivered. But only after we got to hear that the illegal-immigrant cop killer wouldn’t talk with the reporter. But he was polite to the reporter. And that’s important. To someone. Apparently.

An earlier story yesterday focused on the same theme:

Accused cop killer Juan Leonardo Quintero’s demeanor was quite different this morning than it was two days earlier when he fought off officers arresting him and appeared “cold and crazy” to witnesses.

When interviewed briefly by the Houston Chronicle today at the Harris County Jail, Quintero, 32, was calm and polite, addressing the reporter as “ma’am.”

Quintero, who police said confessed to shooting veteran Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson in the head on Thursday from the back of a patrol car, was composed and appeared as if he might want to talk about what happened.

He remained seated for a few questions – why he killed the officer, whether his illegal immigration status was a factor, whether he had remorse – but he repeatedly paused and then apologized politely and said he couldn’t.

“I cannot say anything without my lawyer here. I’m very sorry ma’am,” he said.

Interestingly, most of that seems to have made it into today’s story. At least the Chronicle didn’t put a misleading headline on the earlier story.


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