A grand jury might have to decide whether the shooting death of Timothy Combs, which began as a telephone argument between brothers-in-law, was a crime or whether evidence suggests it was an act of self-defense, officials said Monday.
Webster resident Combs, 32, was shot while inside a car parked in the 2600 block of Via Montesano, a residential street on the east side of League City.
A resident of the house on Via Montesano called police about 10:30 p.m. to report he’d been in an argument over the phone with Combs, his brother-in-law, League City Police Department spokesman John Griffith said.
Police initially planned to handle the situation by talking to Combs on the phone, Griffith said.
The resident called again about 10:40 p.m. to report he believed Combs was on the way to his house, however.
Combs arrived at the home about 10:46 p.m. and minutes later had been shot and killed, police said.
The resident, armed with a “tactical rifle,” had confronted Combs when he arrived at the house, the resident and other witnesses at the scene told investigators, according to a police statement.
Those witnesses told police Combs returned to his car and said he was getting his own gun, according to the police statement. He was in the car when the resident opened fire, according to witness statements recounted by police.
Combs died at the scene.
A handgun was found in Combs’ car, police said. It’s not clear whether Combs ever had the gun in his hand before he was shot, police said.
The resident was cooperating with the investigation, police said.
Along with witness statements, investigators collected home security camera recordings from around the area, Griffith said.
No charges had been filed in the shooting and police on Saturday said the case would be referred to a grand jury. But the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office on Monday said that hadn’t been decided.
A person can be charged with a crime before evidence is reviewed by a grand jury, prosecutors said.
In other situations, the district attorney’s office can refer a case to a grand jury to determine whether charges are appropriate, officials said. Prosecutors also can sometimes use a grand jury to gather evidence about an incident by using subpoenas to compel people to testify.
Galveston County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Petroff said prosecutors hadn’t decided what the next step would be in this case.
Griffith couldn’t say what the argument had been about beyond that it was a domestic dispute.