Custom Search

Monday, August 11, 2008

[TX] Remember when Houston Police Officer Fortenot murdered Tammy Sanford & then himself?

Outside of HPD and Tammy's people probably not many of us recall this murder-suicide. It hardly showed up on the news, and I couldn't find any tell-tale death notices that would lead me to learn more. I ran across this article while researching in news archives that reach back to the 1980's - looking for why there are almost no police domestic violence news articles involving the Houston Police Department. I have been searching for three hours to find more on Tammy.
Nothing.
Just this one article.


..."She just realized that this was not the man in her life that she really wanted to marry," said Elida Cobb, Sanford's aunt. After the breakup, Fontenot bought two plane tickets to Las Vegas and faxed them to Sanford on Wednesday. He then proposed a second time...

HPD veteran fatally shoots former fiancee, self
Houston Chronicle - December 21, 2002
Author: S.K. BARDWELL, PEGGY O'HARE, Staff

A 19-year Houston police veteran who filed for divorce from his wife Monday, and had his marriage proposal to another woman rejected the next day, shot and killed the woman who spurned him Friday morning before turning the gun on himself.

Dead are Gary L. Fontenot, 48, of New Caney, a patrol officer assigned to the South Central Patrol division, and Tammy Sanford, 28, of the 12800 block of Roydon.

Sanford's relatives said the couple had been dating for about a year and were engaged until Sanford broke off the relationship.

Both were shot in the head. Preliminary investigation indicates Fontenot, who was off duty at the time, shot and killed Sanford, then killed himself, police said. The officer's service weapon was found next to his body.

The shootings happened about 8:45 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of a southeast Houston bank where Sanford worked as a teller and Fontenot was coordinator of security.

An off-duty Houston Independent School District officer working an extra security job inside the Houston Commercial Bank at 7125 Gulf Freeway told investigators he heard two gunshots and stepped outside to discover the bodies on the pavement near the two victims' cars.

Fontenot was not scheduled to work his off-duty job at the bank Friday morning, and Assistant Police Chief Charles A. McClelland said it was unknown Friday whether the officer was there on business or to see Sanford.

McClelland said there was evidently some conversation between Fontenot and the woman before the shootings.

Doris Lister arrived at the Social Security Administration office across Office City Drive shortly after 8:30 a.m. when she heard loud voices and at least one shot, although she did not recognize it as a gunshot at the time.

"I was putting on lipstick, and I saw this police car with lights in my rear-view mirror," Lister said. "I turned to see what was going on, and three more (police cars) hurtled by me."

At a Christmas party attended by police officers this week, Fontenot spoke of personal problems, said a fellow South Central officer .

Fontenot filed for divorce Monday against Pamela Sue Fontenot, 46, citing "discord and conflict of personalities."

They had married Aug. 17, 1971, and ceased living together Sept. 15, 1994. Pamela Fontenot listed her residence in Hayden, Ala.

The divorce petition indicated the couple had no children under age 18. Fontenot requested to keep possession of his home in New Caney, an auto and his retirement benefits from the Houston Police Department.

Houston lawyer Lee Samuel Burns said Fontenot appeared to be handling the divorce well.

"I've known him for years," Burns said. "He's a real nice person. I had the utmost respect for him."

Burns said Fontenot "just seemed like his old self" Monday.

Relatives of Sanford who gathered Friday night said the couple had been engaged, that Fontenot had bought Sanford a ring and that Sanford had bought a wedding dress in Mexico.

But Sanford later changed her mind because she wanted children and Fontenot did not. Fontenot already had grown children and grandchildren.

Last week, family members said, Sanford called off the relationship and, at first, Fontenot seemed to understand. But as the days passed, they said, it became apparent he could not let go.

"She just realized that this was not the man in her life that she really wanted to marry," said Elida Cobb, Sanford's aunt.

After the breakup, Fontenot bought two plane tickets to Las Vegas and faxed them to Sanford on Wednesday. He then proposed a second time.

"She told him, `No, I don't want to do this,' " Cobb said.

Sanford said marrying Fontenot "wasn't the right thing to do," said Cobb, who lives in west Harris County.

"I thought he was divorced a long time ago," the aunt said. "She told me that he wanted to marry her and she said no. I told her, `Just be careful.' "

Cobb said she and her niece talked about the situation Thursday night and that Sanford did not sound fearful or upset.

"She didn't have problems with anybody on this Earth. . . . She was the sweetest girl," Cobb said. "I guess this happened because she was too sweet."

A bank employee told Sanford's family that Fontenot was waiting in the parking lot for her when she arrived for work Friday morning. Relatives said they were shocked a police officer would act so violently.

McClelland said if the incident is the result of a domestic disturbance, "it is no different from any other," regardless of the involvement of a police officer .

McClelland, who oversees the South Central Patrol Command, said he did not know Fontenot personally but that he knew both deaths would cause a great deal of pain.

"At this particular time of year, this is extremely devastating, not only at the Houston Police Department . . . but for both families," the assistant chief said.

4 comments:

  1. I knew Gary, it was a total shock. I cant believe its been more than a decade.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thought Gary was a good guy. Still shocked. Tammy was a very nice person. I do not believe anyone saw this coming.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I thought Gary was a good guy. Still shocked. Tammy was a very nice person. I do not believe anyone saw this coming.

    ReplyDelete
  4. AnonymousJuly 05, 2015

    I knew gary I was arrested by him foy some petty crimes. very nice officer.couldnt belive it.

    ReplyDelete

Please post updates or email them to behindthebluewall@gmail.com. No cop-hating or victim-hating comments allowed. Word verification had to be added due to spam attacks on this blog.