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Man found not guilty of murder in 2020 fatal shooting of HPD Sgt. Sean Rios during alleged road rage incident

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HOUSTON – A jury has found Robert Soliz, the 26-year-old man accused of shooting and killing a Houston police officer in 2020, not guilty of murder.

Soliz was on trial for the shooting death of HPD Sgt. Sean Rios, which apparently stemmed from a road rage incident.

According to HPD, on Nov. 9, 2020, Rios and Soliz were both traveling along the North Freeway around 1:30 p.m. when they got into some sort of altercation.

The two men engaged in a gun battle, police said, and Rios was shot.

The officer ran into the lobby of the Taj Inn & Suites, where he collapsed and died. A hotel employee called for help.

Rios was heading to work a shift at Bush Intercontinental Airport the day of the shooting. He was 47 years old.

Soliz was 24 years old at the time.

Soliz fled the scene but was apprehended during a traffic stop on the Katy Freeway 24 hours later. He was placed in the Harris County Jail and charged with murder.

He was not charged with capital murder of a police officer because it was not known if Rios, who was off duty at the time, identified himself as law enforcement.

Soliz said he did not know the victim was an officer until later that night.

During the trial, who actually initiated the road rage was a point of argument. Soliz claims the shooting was in self-defense.

Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday morning, and the verdict was handed down around 5 p.m.

Statement on the verdict in the trial for Houston Police Sgt. Sean Rios:

“We are deeply disappointed with the verdict in this case, and we saw the evidence differently than the jury, and though we cannot agree with the jury’s decision, we appreciate their time and service. Our hearts remain with Sean Rios’s widow and four children, who will now grow up without their father. Officer Rios spent his time here on Earth serving and protecting the people of Houston, and he gave his life in that noble effort. He will always be remembered for the hero that he was.”

Body of HPD Sgt. Sean Rios escorted to funeral home

Who was Sean Rios?

  • 25-year veteran of the Houston Police Department

  • Father of four children between ages of 9 and 17 years old at time of death

  • Served in the Marines

  • Came from a law enforcement family. Two cousins work as HPD detectives

Robert Soliz is seen in the back of a patrol car after being arrested in Houston on Nov. 10, 2020. (Law Enforcement Source)

Who is Robert Soliz?

Soliz has a lengthy criminal history. Records show the following charges, seven of which occurred before Sgt. Rios was killed. Records also show bond amounts varied between $100 and $10,000.

  • 12/3/2020 – Carrying handgun in motor vehicle

  • 7/31/2018 – evading arrest/ detention

  • 7/31/2018 – Unlawful carry of weapon

  • 7/20/2018 – Carrying handgun in motor vehicle (Bond amount $5,000. Records show case dismissed)

  • 7/20/2018 – terroristic threat

  • 10/11/2016 – Possession marijuana

  • 5/17/2016 – possession of marijuana

  • 11/7/2014 – possession of marijuana

  • 8/28/2014 – trespass of a building


Who was Houston police Sgt. Sean Rios?

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Bond set at $500,000 for man accused of killing HPD Sgt. Sean Rios

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1 arrested, 1 sought in slaying of HPD sergeant along North Freeway

6 killed in string of Houston homicides Monday

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