ATHENS — On Oct. 20, Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston was responding to a domestic violence call with another officer when a man who wouldn’t let his wife in an apartment to get her belongings opened fire on them.
Preston, 65, was shot multiple times and died. Waller was shot in the arm and is recovering. Preston had been on the force 41 years and was set to retire in two weeks.
Born on June 28, 1955 in Athens, Preston attended Bishop Heights Elementary school before moving to Houston and joined the police force in 1979. A funeral procession started Saturday morning in Houston and ended at the North Athens Cemetery in his hometown.
The Kilgore Police Department was part of the procession from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens to the burial site for the final ceremony.
Houston Lt. Michael Collins said Preston made an impact on all officers when it came to treating people the right way.
“I personally knew Sgt. Preston for 15 years. He is one of the most humble, down-to-earth public servants you will ever meet. He taught me a lot on how to deal with people and treat people on a human level and other interactions,” Collins said. “He treated people as individuals. He truly cared about the community and serving the community, and he epitomized what defines law enforcement today and moving forward in the future.
“I truly believe he is responsible for much of the training that occurred for new officers and sergeants coming in, so people take his teachings and philosophies and pass it on to future generations of law enforcement,” Collins continued. “I believe that not only his interactions with citizens did he make a difference, but in each one of his interactions with officers as well.”
Collins said the death of his colleague and friend does not seem real.
“It doesn’t feel real because Sgt. Preston had 41 years of service to the police department, and he was an institution in the division,” he said. “You saw him every day when you came to work. You saw him when you left. You just expected him to be here forever.”
The family asked for donations in Preston’s name to the Domestic Violence Organization Allen Chapel AME Church in Athens.