FBI agent fatally shoots kidnapping victim during rescue attempt

Posted at 11:13 AM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 11:13:50-05

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK/CNN) - It was tough to talk about, even tougher to be the department who had to tell the victim's brother.

"I know what it would be like to tell someone who came to us for help and we failed him," said Chief Philip Dupuis with the Conroe Police Department. "We do this job to help people and doesn't always go our way."

In an attempt to rescue a kidnapping victim, an FBI agent shot him.

It happened at a home in northeast Houston early Thursday morning.

Along with the kidnapping victim. There were children inside when the agent opened fire.

Conroe police say Nicholas Cunningham and Jimmy Sanchez took the victim from his home at the end of Tyler Lane in Conroe Wednesday morning.

After they forced their way in at gunpoint and bound the victim and his 12-year-old son, they demanded cash and ransacked the house, police say.

Then, they took the victim, leaving the boy behind with instructions not to call the police.

He ran to a neighbor's house who did just that.

"It's not that comforting knowing it happened right there," the victim’s neighbor Robert Traylor said.

Conroe police asked the FBI for help.

Cunningham and Sanchez were tracked to a Clear Lake area hotel where they were arrested.

Authorities were then led to the house where they say Sophia Heath was guarding the victim.

During their raid, the FBI confirms an agent shot and killed him.

"Whether it was accidental or not, the man's not going home to his family," Ligon said.

Along with the criminal investigations, there is a federal investigation into what went wrong.

Heath is charged with aggravated kidnapping.

Cunningham and Sanchez with aggravated kidnapping and robbery but their charges could be upgraded.

"The kidnappers put this into play so they're ultimately responsible for the outcome," said Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon.

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