Dramatic new body camera footage showing Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies in Houston, Texas, opening fire through a window while responding to a reported break-in has been released.
In the new body-worn video of the incident released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), which spans about four minutes in total, two officers can be seen approaching an upstairs Houston apartment in the early hours of Feb. 3. After encountering a window screen out of its window frame and set aside in front of the apartment, an officer can be seen knocking on the door before announcing, "Sheriff's Office."
The video shows that she then moves away from the door, joining the other officer at the top of the staircase.
A car alarm then begins to go off, and one of the officers says something to the other, and the two begin shooting after one of the officers allegedly spots that the person inside had a gun, according to HCSO. One of the officers re-loads their weapon and continues firing before the two retreat downstairs and notify colleagues through their radios that shots were fired. A gun was recovered near the apartment entryway after the shooting, according to HCSO.
The video contains a narrative of events from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office that reads that at 2:10 a.m. local time on Feb. 3, 2024, deputies responded to a call at 90 Uvalde Road. "The caller reported someone was inside her apartment," the text on the video says.
At 2:14 a.m., the first officer responded, met the caller and a maintenance worker and "made sure the apartment was safe and secure," per the video text.
A second deputy arrived to assist when a "resident of a neighboring apartment approached the deputy and reported that someone had broken into another nearby second-floor apartment," according to text captions on the video.
According to the Sheriff’s Office account in the video, the deputies went to investigate the reported break-in and saw "the front window screen removed, broken glass and the blinds raised, near the front door." The deputies knocked, and one of them announced their presence. It is unclear from the body camera footage where the glass was broken.
The woman, who was later identified as Eboni Pouncy, a friend of the woman who lived in the apartment, sustained a total of five gunshot wounds to the leg and torso, according to her attorney, Ben Crump, who reacted to the release of the video on Monday, calling it "evidence of the unnecessary and excessive force."
None of Pouncy’s vital organs were struck by bullets, but the long-term effects of her injuries are yet to be determined, according to Crump. He told ABC News that Pouncy is traumatized by the incident.
Pouncy's friend, who was with her the previous night, said that she had forgotten her keys to her apartment. The friend told Pouncy to break the window so they could enter, she said at a news conference last Friday.
The two had been in the house for about 20 minutes when they heard a loud banging on the door, Pouncy’s friend said. Pouncy grabbed her gun and went to the door before she was fired upon by the deputies, according to the friend.
On Monday, Crump said Pouncy, 28, was the woman struck by the bullets. He told ABC News she was shot five times in the torso and legs and is lucky to still be alive today.
"This newly-released body cam footage is evidence of the unnecessary and excessive force used against her," Crump told ABC News in a statement Monday. "We demand that the deputies involved be immediately held accountable for the terrible injuries."
"The shooting of Eboni Pouncy should have never happened," Crump’s statement continued. "The video shows the deputies that responded to Eboni’s friend’s house shot first and asked questions later. It is concerningly clear by the video and Eboni’s injuries that deputies were not justified in shooting her five times."
Since the incident, both officers have been placed on administrative leave, according to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s department and local district attorney are investigating, and the case is being referred to a grand jury.
In cell phone video acquired by KTRK, an ABC-owned station, officers can be heard directing Pouncy's friend to come down the stairs after the shooting.
"I live here. Please don't shoot," she responds before officers order her to the ground and handcuff her.
Pouncy was taken to the hospital by paramedics for her injuries.