Officer Houts Remembered on First Anniversary of His Death

Officer Keith E. Houts
Officer Keith E. Houts

It's been a year since Montgomery Police Officers searched frantically for a man who allegedly murdered one of their own.

Officer Keith Houts was shot several times after he pulled over a suspect for speeding.

That suspect, Mario Woodward, is now in jail, and Houts' supervisor at the time looks back on that dark day.

Colonel K.J. Murphy remembers all too well where he was, what he was doing, and the terrible call that crackled across his radio.

He says, "I was at a rotary luncheon and my radio went off."

Today, one year later, Keith Houts' name is on the police memorial and Colonel Murphy looks back on the man he supervised.

Houts was just 30-years old.

"You could tell he was put together well, spoke well, the way he carried himself always had a smile on his face," remembers Murphy.

It was Colonel Murphy who actually picked up Woodward in Henry County, Georgia.

"The hardest part was pulling into the parking lot and seeing all the officers in support of Keith. It was emotional."

Houts had only been on the force for 18 months.

He survived a tour in the Iraq war but not the streets back home.

Police officers are much like warriors," says Murphy," Oftentimes they are the target."

Family member and first cousin James Houts released a statement and it says in part:

'I pray that this anniversary will give people an opportunity to pause and reflect on the stark differences between those who abide by the law and dedicate their lives to helping others in contrast to the lawless element of society who have dedicated their lives to instant gratification, selfish pursuits and an evil disregard of other people's feelings and value.'

That September day one year ago was so much like today..bright and sunny, one year to remember and reflect.

As for Mario Woodward, he was indicted last week.

His first court appearance is set for October 10th.

The Montgomery Police Department is asking the community to pause for a moment of silence in Houts' honor at noon on Sunday.

Reporter: Bryan Henry