The rescue attempt could not have ended much worse: An FBI agent attempting to rescue a kidnapped man ended up fatally shooting the man himself. On Tuesday, Houston's police chief explained what happened: An agent was using his assault rifle to bust in a window at the home where Ulises Valladares was being held, and Valladares managed to grab the weapon as it came through the window, says Chief Art Acevedo, per the Houston Chronicle. The agent had no idea Valladares was even in that room, let alone the person grabbing the weapon, and he made a "split-second decision" to fire, killing the 47-year-old.
"Tragically and sadly, Mr. Valladares was right by that window," says Acevedo, per KHOU. "He actually grabbed at the rifle and started to pull the rifle." The chief added that it was dark out and the room was unlit, making it difficult for the agent to see what was happening. Another FBI agent had been attempting to bust the window with a standard breaching tool, but he lost his grip and dropped it inside the room; that was why the second agent began using his weapon. Authorities can only guess as to why Valladares grabbed the weapon—he managed to do so despite having his hands bound—but one theory is that he thought he could use it to be pulled from the room. "It's a tragedy that we can't take back," says Acevedo.