On September 21, 2006, Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson was shot and killed while making a routine traffic stop. The man that murdered him had been deported back to Mexico seven years earlier. However, due to the federal government’s refusal to defend the Mexican border, this human predator easily re-entered the United States, eventually killing Johnson.
Officer Johnson stopped a commercial vehicle traveling 20 miles over the posted speed limit. The truck was driven by Mexican national Juan Leonardo Quintero. A co-worker and Quintero’s two step-daughters were also in the vehicle.
When Quintero was unable to provide any form of identification, Officer Johnson handcuffed him and placed him in the backseat of his patrol car. Once the officer was once again seated behind the wheel, Quintero removed the 9-mm handgun concealed in his waistband and began firing at Johnson through the plastic shield separating the front and back seats. Johnson was shot in the head five times. He was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a local hospital.
Forty-year-old Officer Rodney Johnson was a 12-year veteran of the Houston Police Department and a U.S. Army veteran. While serving on the HPD, Officer Johnson received two Lifesaving Awards.
He left behind his wife Joslyn (also a police officer) and five children.
In 2006, Clara Rodriguez, who lived in the neighborhood where Johnson patrolled, had this to say about the murdered officer:
He was just so very nice. He was not ever mean. It just breaks my heart. I feel so very bad for his wife. He got up and went to work this morning, and this is what happened. This is what happened to one of the people who protects us, who truly took care of us.
Juan Leonardo Quintero had prior arrests in Houston. He is a convicted child molester and DUI offender, and was deported to Mexico by U.S. immigration officials in 1999. He had been working for a Houston area landscaping company and, despite the DUI conviction, was driving a company vehicle at the time Officer Johnson stopped him.
On May 20, 2008, a Houston jury sentenced Quintero to spend the rest of his life in prison.