Fallen Heroes: Officer Antonio “Tony” Guzman Jr.

Nelson Zoch

January 9, 1973

Antonio “Tony” Guzman Jr. was born in San Antonio on September 18, 1942. He attended Ben Milam Elementary and Brackenridge High School in San Antonio and served his country in the United States Army for seven years. Guzman joined the Houston Police Department on August 23, 1971, graduating in Police Cadet Class No. 51 on December 11, 1971. He was assigned to Patrol IV, which worked 7 p.m. until 3 a.m.

On Tuesday night, January 9, 1973, Officer Guzman and his partner, Officer Brad Mills, were assigned to Unit 4T-31 of Patrol IV, a new shift that began in August 1970. These units were assigned to supplement and overlap the existing evening and night shifts, and while they ran regular patrol calls when needed, they had the freedom to do a lot of saturation patrol duties in areas where it was deemed necessary.

On this cold night, nearly halfway through their shift, Officers Guzman and Mills were southbound on Telephone Road at 10:30 p. m. when they observed a speeding pickup truck with no taillights. Their unit, with Officer Mills driving and Officer Guzman “on the ground, ” stopped the pickup in the 6700 block of Telephone at Drouet. The driver, Robert Tillman Emory II (White Male, 30), got out of his vehicle, walked toward Officer Mills and offered his driver’s license to the officer before even being asked for it.

Officer Guzman walked up to the truck and shined his flashlight inside. He then quickly returned to where Officer Mills and Emory were standing and said to Mills, “Let’s search him. ” Emory, a railroad switchman, was wearing overalls and had his hands in the pockets. Mills told him to show his hands and repeated the order as he reached to grab Emory to begin searching him. Emory was hesitant to move his hands and Officer Guzman, who apparently had seen a box of pistol ammunition in Emory’s truck, asked the man, “Where’s your pistol? ”

At that point, Emory pushed Officer Mills away, pulling a pistol from his overalls all in the same motion. He turned toward Guzman and pointed a small-caliber pistol at him. Without saying a word, he fired, mortally wounding the officer. Both officers pulled their weapons and began firing at Emory, who was running away. With both officers firing a total of fourteen shots at him, Emory fell in a service station driveway on the northeast corner of Telephone and Drouet. Officer Guzman also had fallen over the esplanade in the middle of the street. After Officer Mills had seen Emory fall and stay down, he turned his attention to his partner and called for assistance.

Unit 4T-33 Officers V. H. Kerchoff and R. V. Sander quickly arrived at the scene to assist. They placed Tony Guzman into their patrol car and rushed him to Ben Taub General Hospital. Doctors there pronounced him dead on arrival at 1:15 a. m., having sustained a gunshot wound to the upper left chest. He was thirty years old and had been a Houston police officer for only thirteen months.

His wife Candy and their son, eight-year old John Guzman, survived Officer Tony Guzman. Also surviving him were his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Guzman Sr., sisters Mrs. Amy Oranday and Cathy Gutierrez, and one brother, William Guzman. Funeral services were held at 9:30 a. m. Friday, January 12, at the Forest Park Lawndale Chapel with a Funeral Mass held at 10:15 a. m. at the St. Theresa Catholic Church. Military graveside services and interment took place at the Veterans Administration Cemetery in Houston.

An investigation showed that Officers Guzman and Mills had fired a total of fourteen rounds with their. 45-caliber automatic pistols. The suspect Emory suffered five gunshot wounds to the top of the left shoulder and to his legs. A Houston Fire Department ambulance rushed him to Ben Taub. After surgery, he remained in the hospital, paralyzed. He was charged with murder in the death of Tony Guzman.

Emory worked in Houston for a local railroad. At the time of this shooting incident, he was on probation for five years for burglary of a boxcar and had been previously handled for several narcotics violations. He admitted to smoking marijuana and using “speed” the night he murdered Officer Guzman. In his truck, investigators found a grass pipe, a water pipe, some marijuana and a large amount of pills. However, he never went to court on his most serious charge. On April 7, 1973, he died in Ben Taub from the gunshot wounds.

In 2002, Candy Guzman had remarried and lived in the central Texas town of Belton with her husband, Ed Wade, a retired HPD officer and later a successful civilian employee in HPD’s Computer Services. John Guzman, her and Tony’s only son, lived nearby. Candy went to work at HPD in the Dispatcher’s Office shortly after Tony’s death. After several years there, she became an executive secretary in the department and retired in 1997 after having worked for several deputy and assistant chiefs. In 2002, John Guzman was a technician for a cable television firm. Officer Guzman’s parents are both deceased. Both of Tony’s sisters as well as his brother resided in the San Antonio area.

In an interview conducted in 2002, Candy mentioned the invaluable assistance provided to her during the rough times after her husband’s murder by A. M. “Tony” Biamonte. At the time, Tony, a Robbery detective, was the closest thing HPD had to a family assistance officer. He was on the Board of Directors of both the Houston Police Officers Association (now the Houston Police Officers Union) and the Burial Fund and provided guidance and advice to HPD family members in times of crisis. Tony retired in 1981 and died in 1996.

Homicide Detectives C. J. “Chuck” Lofland and D. A. “Hoot” Gibson investigated this offense. Both later retired as lieutenants. Lofland died in 1998. Gibson is retired and lived in the Houston area in 2002. Brad Mills resigned from HPD in 1988 after serving seventeen years and lived in San Antonio, employed as a lieutenant with the Northside Independent School District Police Department. Of the transporting officers, V. H. “Vic” Kerckhoff worked the night shift for a number of years at the Clear Lake Patrol Division before retiring in 2004. R. V. “Richard” Sander retired as a sergeant in 1990, having worked in Narcotics, Planning and Research and Field Training during his twenty years of service. In 2007, he was the chief deputy under Harris County District Clerk Charles Bacarisse.

It is interesting to note that that some point around 2000, this writer received a phone call from a young lady to who lived in Oklahoma. She was asking about this case and upon returning her call, I inquired as to why she was interested as I had not ever heard her name mentioned in the investigation nor in my inquiries while writing the original story. This young lady was very forthright in her answer. She was the daughter of Robert Emory and had heard various stories about how her Dad had died. Basically, she had been told the truth through the years and just needed to hear it from someone at HPD. She asked that I pass her condolences on to the Guzman family for what her Dad had done. To Candy and John and the rest of the Guzman family, this information is for you.

NOTE: Candy Guzman’s second husband, HPD Retired Officer Ed Wade, passed away in 2011.