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Posts published in “Day: March 18, 2003”

Burglary ends in shooting that leaves homeowner dead

Houston police are investigating the shooting death of a man at 8434 Carolwood about 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, 2003.

Leonard Dewayne Bledsoe, 33, of 7706 Clareborne suffered a gunshot wound to his chest and was transported to Ben Taub General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

HPD Homicide Investigators S.R. Straughter and T.S. Tyler report:

Witnesses informed a homeowner in the 8400 block of Carolwood that his house had been broken into by a man known as “Tyrone” at approximately 3 p.m. that afternoon. The homeowner drove through his neighborhood in an unsuccessful attempt to find the suspect.

A short time had passed when Bledsoe and some family members arrived at the home, unaware that the house had been burglarized. As they stood in front of the home, “Tyrone” and several other suspects pulled up in three separate vehicles. A verbal confrontation took place before the suspects fired their weapons into the unarmed crowd. It was at that point when Bledsoe was struck. One of the vehicles that the suspects fled in is a gray, four-door Buick.

The identities of “Tyrone” and the other three or four black males accompanying him are unknown.
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact HPD Homicide Division at (713) 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.

Bailey proposes legislation to fix HPD Crime Lab

Representative Kevin Bailey, Chairman and members of the Texas House of Representatives General Investigating Committee, held a meeting to consider Committee action dealing with the problems at the Houston Police Department (HPD) Crime Lab. The hearing took place In Austin on Thursday, March 13.

Chairman Kevin Bailey recommended two legislative bills to the committee. The first bill would require all public DNA crime Jabs in Texas to be fully accredited. It would also prohibit prosecutors from using evidence analyzed by a lab that is not accredited.

The committee had learned from James Bolding, supervisor of the HPD Crime Lab that his superiors did not respond to his repeated concerns. In response to a question from Chairman Bailey regarding deficiencies at the lab, James Bolding responded, “On numerous occasions, starting in l998, I made all of my chain of command aware of the necessity to (be accredited).” He explained that internal audits determined that the lab did not have sufficient funding, staff or wherewithal to do the kind of work expected of them.

A second bill recommended by Bailey would authorize the director of DPS to appoint a qualified person to oversee the review of previous cases involving DNA evidence when questions arise about the quality of work produced by a crime lab in Texas.

The committee also considered asking for an immediate independent review of evidence in past cases that was analyzed by the Houston Police Crime Lab.

According to Bailey “Serious problems exist with the work of the Houston crime lab. We must take action to make sure problems such as these never happen again. Many people have lost confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system in Harris County and it is imperative that we immediately have an outside independent review of past cases analyzed by this lab”

In previous testimony the committee has heard from forensic scientists with the Texas Department of Public Safety that the procedure and manner in which the Houston Police Department Crime Lab analyzes DNA evidence does not meet with accredited industry standards.

New Restaurant continues traditions of De Anda family

Houston’s Northeast side recently benefited from the opening of a new family restaurant at 5223 Hopper, called El Sabor de Mexico. The building is next door to the De Anda family’s banquet hall, and follows in the tradition of providing good food, entertainment and special facilities for our community.

The owner is Liza De Anda, who saw the restaurant as the culmination of her father’s dream of a complex of buildings that would serve the people of the Northeast community. Joe De Anda built the building in 1997 and intended it for weddings, birthdays, and private parties. After his death, Liza decided to make it more usable as a full-time Mexican restaurant.

The following history is in Liza’s own words:

We started in October of last year, and with all the work I have a new appreciation for those kinds of places. We saw it as a place to eat and be entertained. The colors are red and white, my father’s favorite. We wanted an atmosphere where people could relax, feel comfortable and have a good time.

Many of the features are things I like to do myself. Karaoke (I listen, but don’t ask me to sing), comedians, playing pool, watching Pay-per-View events on a big screen TV. We have a huge 10 x 8 screen on the back wall, and 4 other TV’s mounted around the building. Now all of this is available close-by, instead of a long drive across Houston.

We also wanted food that people would come back for. We interviewed many cooks. Many. I ate some okay stuff, some really bad stuff, gained a few extra pounds in the process. But I was determined to have the best food, so I kept on. Finally I found a young husband and wife team, Gerardo and Michelle Garza. The moment I put the fork in my mouth, I knew they were the ones…NO DOUBT!!

Now we can offer authentic Mexican food, along with delicious sea food. And when we tell you Jumbo shrimp, we mean Jumbo! And, hamburgers, hot wings, desserts that make your mouth water.

The Garzas have thrown themselves into this new business, wanting to make this restaurant their signature place as chefs. As an added bonus for patrons, they will always try to make your special order.

My next problem was needing the correct name for the new eating establishment. WOW that was hard. Then I saw a place called a “Taste of Houston,” and I thought, that’s neat. Why not a “Taste of Mexico?” But in Spanish, El Sabor de Mexico. But how was the Gringo (ha ha, no offense) going to pronounce that? A gringo told me, they just say that place “whatever” where the food is so good. SO, that’s why you see “pa el gringo…lo que sca.” You would not believe the response from that remark, but no offense is meant to the Hispanic people nor the American community. My people, I love you and I am here to serve everyone…
I need to thank my amazing carpenters who built everything I imagined–Frank Ulloa and Cornelio Aguilar.

This is a family business, with my sons Felix, Vincent Hernandez, and daughter Erica Hernandez. My sons’ girlfriends also work here, Veronica Rodriguez and Stefanie Samudio, nephew Joseph De Anda, and my youngest brother Christopher.

We have a nice safe family atmosphere. We have a dance floor, and will have a variety of music. We are looking for bands to play that want to make a reputation and have their name on our marquee.

We will also have an outdoor eating and dancing garden area in the summer.

Thanks to all who have helped me. As well as my family mentioned above, Terrie Davis, Ronnie, Frank, Joe, Cornelio, Mr. Silva. And thanks for my daugher’s patience, after I forgot her at school too many times during this whole process.

Please come and join us for a good time. We are all your family, and you will have a good meal, a fun time, and enjoy yourself at El Sabor de Mexico.

Teen Explosion at Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. draws young people from across the City

By P.J. Williams

Over 150 teens descend on the Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. the last Friday of every month for Teen Explosion. The young adults come from as far as Katy, Galena Park, Channel View, Humble, and Southwest Houston and as close by as down the street.

Attendance steadily increased since its inception three years ago. A record number of teens, 180, attended in January. February’s attendance was almost as high. “It’s been growing by leaps and bounds,” said director Sylvia Bolling.

An exciting variety of events entice youth to come back every month. “Every Teen Explosion is totally different,” said Don Jones, program director.

February’s meeting featured skits by Drama Extreme, an open mike, and a talk from professional boxer Guadalupe Lupé Martinez, who is 7-0.

March will offer teens an opportunity to play a variety of video games while listening to the positive hip-hop of Fire of Infinity. They will also be able to check out Game Stop’s Hummers on the front lawn.

While there is always something different, Teen Explosion regularly offers food, a positive message, and a presentation from Operation Outreach. Founded three years ago, Operation Outreach is a group of rehabilitated drug users who share their personal stories about how they got into drugs, the negative affects it had, and how their lives changed for the better after they quit.

At February’s Teen Explosion, one Operation Outreach member told how he went from a good job as a UPS driver and firefighter to homeless after getting involved with drugs. Now clean, he is back on his feet and has a job as an engineer’s assistant. “It’s a path of destruction. If you go there, it’ll take you down,” he said.

Jones explained that Operation Outreach is an important part of Teen Explosion since some of the youth who attend the program must contend with the pressure to use drugs. “We bring in a lot of kids who have already dabbled in drugs and are in a group home,” he said.

Tiara Emmanuel agrees that this positive message attracts youth, “[Teen Explosion] inspires me & teaches me a lot of things I didn’t know before. It gives me a lot of activities I want to participate in.”