City of Sugar Land

The family of a man injured in an August shooting is questioning the city of Sugar Land’s handling of the investigation, arguing city police were unfairly biased because the shooter was a retired officer.

Media representatives for the family of Ozzy Kazi, 29, held a news conference last week, calling for an independent investigation into the shooting.

“To me, this is so insane,” said Wayne Dolcefino, a former journalist turned consultant hired by Kazi’s family. “Can you really tell me this was a complete and fair investigation?”

The city and Kazi’s family dispute much that happened on Aug. 1, when Kazi was transported to the hospital with a gunshot wound after a confrontation with a neighbor.

Officers that night responded to a report of a shooting in the 5700 block of Silas Creek Court and learned there’d been a dispute between two neighbors, according to Doug Adolph, spokesperson for the city.

Investigators eventually determined Kazi had been ringing a doorbell across the street as one of his neighbors, a retired police officer, was sitting in a garage watching Kazi, Adolph said. The retired police officer then went inside his own home and retrieved a firearm, and Kazi was on his property when he went back outside, Adolph said.

“The neighbor with the firearm asked him to leave the property, and Kazi refused,” Adolph said.

The city alleges Kazi then entered the man’s garage, attacked the neighbor and tried to take his gun, before the retired officer shot Kazi in the stomach, Adolph said.

Kazi’s family, meanwhile, allege that the retired officer came up to Kazi in the drive way and put the gun to his head, and Kazi only grabbed at it because he feared for his life, Dolcefino explained.

Kazi has bipolar disorder, according to Dolcefino.

“He wasn’t breaking the law,” Dolcefino said. “He’d been his next door neighbor for 14 years. The kid has some mental health issues, but he’s not a violent kid.”

Dolcefino further took issue with what happened when officers arrived to investigate. To start, the retired officer told investigators he’d been drinking before the shooting, yet no one took his blood alcohol levels, Dolcefino asserted.

Adolph acknowledged that the former officer had said he’d consumed beer before the shooting, but said investigators noticed no signs of intoxication at the scene.

“There’s not a law preventing a person from sitting in their garage drinking beer,” Adolph said. “And there’s no law preventing someone from defending themselves from an assault while in their garage.”

But Dolcefino questioned whether or not it was fair not to at least test the retired officer, to see if intoxication might have played some role in the shooting.

“Does the chief really want us to believe if he’d been a young Black guy and he’d shot someone, they wouldn’t check to see if alcohol had affected his judgment?” Dolcefino asked.

Dolcefino also criticized the subsequent investigation as one-sided, arguing officers never asked Kazi for his view of events, he said. Some of the body camera video also appears to contradict what officers assert, Dolcefino argued.

Adolph disagreed with some of Dolcefino’s arguments, however. Officers did interview Kazi, and the department asked for the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office to conduct an independent investigation when investigators realized the case involved a former colleague, Adolph said.

“I can also say he was treated like any other shooter,” Adolph said. “When officers arrived, he was handcuffed and his hands were bagged.”

Sugar Land has recommended misdemeanor charges be filed against Kazi, but that decision will ultimately rest with the district attorney’s office.

“The misdemeanor assault charge that was submitted to our office by the Sugar Land Police Department is under review as our investigation is ongoing, which encompasses all aspects of this incident,” said Wesley Wittig, spokesperson for the office. “I cannot say what, if any charges will come out of our investigation at this time, in regards to any involved party.”

Sugar Land cleared the retired officer of wrongdoing after the department finished its investigation, but the district attorney’s office continues to investigate the shooting, Wittig said.

The case will come before a grand jury sometime this month, Wittig said.

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