09/29/05 — Airman dies in shooting in Houston

View Archive

Airman dies in shooting in Houston

By Turner Walston
Published in News on September 29, 2005 2:01 PM

A Marine has been charged with murder in the death of a Seymour Johnson Air Force Base airman who was shot to death early Tuesday.

Airman 1st Class Phillip Ovalle, 21, of Galveston, was killed while on post-deployment leave.

Investigators with the Houston Police Department ruled Ovalle's death a homicide and charged 21-year-old Michael Anthony Torres, an active-duty Marine, with murder.

Houston police said the two were riding in a vehicle with two other men early Tuesday morning. Witnesses inside the vehicle said Torres placed a handgun to the back of Ovalle's head and pulled the trigger. Ovalle was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness flagged down officers along the Bay Area Boulevard about 12:30 a.m. to report the shooting, investigators said.

"This is a tragic loss of a valued member of Team Seymour, and our heartfelt condolences go out to Airman Ovalle's family," said Capt. Allen Herritage of 4th Fighter Wing public affairs.

Ovalle recently returned from a six-month deployment to Ali Base, Iraq, where he served as an installation entry controller and response force member for the 407th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. In addition to his primary duty, Ovalle contributed to Operation Reach Out by handing out clothing, toys, food and water to needy families near Ali Base.

Ovalle had been in the Air Force since March 2004 and at Seymour Johnson since November.