The Houston Police Officers’ Union is speaking out this week to express their outrage after a career criminal who was just released fatally stabbed an 80-year-old grandmother on Sunday.

Rosalie Cook had been out shopping at a Walgreens in Houston and was walking back to her car when she was attacked and stabbed by 38-year-old Randy Roszell Lewis, who was later shot and killed by a responding officer. The Houston Police Officers’ Union has since spoken out to blame this incident on the “total failure” of criminal justice reform influencing Lewis’ release weeks earlier.

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It had been just two years since Lewis was charged with assaulting a public servant, breaking the victim’s nose, while being transferred to county jail. He had been arrested an astounding 67 times in his lifetime for dozens of charges that include assault, theft, trespassing, possession of marijuana, and burglary of a vehicle.

“Randy Lewis should never have been free. Now an innocent woman has been murdered. Everyone deserves better. This is absolutely shameful,” the Houston Police Officers’ Union tweeted Monday alongside Lewis’ record.

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Union president Joe Gamaldi quickly responded to the tweet by writing, “The monster who stabbed, murdered, robbed an innocent 80 yr old grandmother over the weekend, has been arrested 67 times! And was out on 2 felony PR bonds! The colossal failure of bail and CJ reform in Houston is on full display here. Innocent people are dying. This has to STOP!!”

Back in October of 2019, Lewis was found to be “temporarily incompetent” in a mental examination and was subsequently committed to a psychiatric hospital. “In March, a judge approved a request from the head of the mental facility that Lewis’ stay be extended by 60 days,” Fox News reported. “On April 30, a judge waived two bonds — one for felony theft, the second for the assault on the peace officer — and approved his transfer to a private residential care facility. By May 1,  he was released to the Royal Personal Care Home. He somehow escaped before Saturday’s incident, but few details were released by authorities.”

“The defendant had a history of mental illness and he should have been kept off the streets. He recently absconded from the personal-care facility where the judge ordered he live instead of being held in jail,” the Houston District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The judge had not issued a warrant for his arrest even when he had absconded, so police did not even know to look for him and unfortunately this tragedy occurred before he could be returned to court.”

With reporters taking notes, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo expressed his anger over the handling of this situation. “Where’s the outrage when our cops are putting their lives on the line arresting the same person time and again who’s got a violent history,” he told KHOU.

Cook’s son Chuck spoke out to describe his mom as the “perfect” grandma to six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “Nobody should have to go through this, an 80-year-old woman, disabled, had to walk with a cane,” he said.

 

This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on May 19, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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