Houston, TX – Police have arrested a Texas businessman who allegedly believed he had hired a hitman to successfully assassinate a Houston police officer.
The investigation into 47-year-old Mohammed Mohamed began a few weeks ago, when a concerned citizen warned the Houston Police Department that Mohamed was “shopping” for a hitman to murder an Eastside Differential Response Team officer, Chief of Police Art Acevedo said during a Tuesday press conference.
Investigators learned that Mohamed, who owns a shipping business, believed that the unnamed male officer was “interfering” with his business by issuing him “numerous nuisance violations” for having too many vehicles parked on his property, Chief Acevedo explained.
Mohamed allegedly told the witness that it would cost him “tens of thousands of dollars” to clear the vehicles from his property.
The business owner initially decided that he wanted to hire someone to maim the officer by throwing acid in his face, but opted for murder after he received even more citations, Chief Acevedo said.
“‘I don’t want to just maim this officer, I don’t want to just injure this officer, I want him killed because this is the only way [the problem] is going to go away,'” Chief Acevedo said of Mohamed’s thought process.
The witness reported Mohamed’s alleged plan to the police, who arranged to have an undercover officer pose as a killer-for-hire.
Chief Acevedo noted that Mohamed “wanted to avoid being extorted by the hitman” in the future, so he covered his face with a bandana and wore a hat during their interactions. He also refused to meet with the assumed assassin until after Ramadan.
Mohamed allegedly paid the undercover officer $500 as a down payment and agreed to hand over another $1,500 after “the execution of the hit,” the chief said.
The department’s Major Offenders Division then staged the officer’s death and photographed the gruesome scene to convince Mohamed that the execution had been carried out.
“There was a lot of blood,” Chief Acevedo said.
The undercover officer told Mohamed that he made the incident look like a “botched robbery” and arranged to meet with him to show him the photographic evidence and collect the final payment.
Investigators said they covertly recorded Mohamed’s reaction when he saw the photos, and that he looked “surprised” and “happy” when he saw what he believed was the murdered officer.
Mohamed was taken into custody by SWAT officers, who found $1,500 on his person at the time of his arrest.
He has been charged with solicitation for capital murder, Chief Acevedo confirmed.
The chief noted that Mohamed has “ties to Egypt,” and possessed the “means to leave the country,” making him a potential flight risk.
“We just want the magistrates to know and the district judges who appoint these magistrates that we will be watching closely,” Chief Acevedo said. “We’re hopeful that no bail is given to this individual.”