The Bellaire police officer who shot 23-year-old Robert Tolan in front of his home in the 800 block of Woodstock around 2 a.m. today has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting.
The officer, Sergeant Jeff Cotton, has been employed by the Bellaire Police Department since August of 1999 and has no record of disciplinary action, according to police.
The incident occurred as Tolan was returning in the early hours of Dec. 31. Police say officers were investigating what they believed to be a stolen vehicle when they approached Tolan and his passenger as they exited Tolan’s 2004 Nissan Xterra in front of Tolan’s home. According to police, an altercation ensued as police attempted to detain and question the two men, and Cotton fired his gun, hitting Tolan once. Cotton called for an ambulance and attempted to render aid until the ambulance arrived, says Assistant Police Chief Byron Holloway.
Tolan was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was last reported in stable condition.
Bellaire Police detectives and Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigators are conducting an investigation into the shooting. Both the administrative leave and the involvement of the DA’s office are standard police procedure when an officer is involve din a shooting, according to Holloway.