HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A police officer in Houston is out of surgery and recovering after being shot by one of four men who also allegedly carjacked several people at gunpoint and physically beat a priest.
At an emotional news conference, Chief Art Acevedo asked people to pray for the unidentified 29-year-old officer, who was shot multiple times. The officer has been with HPD for 5 years.
The Chief said one of the suspects was shot and killed in the exchange of fire, two other men were in custody and police were searching for the fourth.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) September 13, 2019
Acevedo said the chaotic evening of violence began just before 10:00 p.m. Thursday with the carjacking at a Valero station, but the vehicle soon ran out of gas and the suspects fled. It was about 10 minutes later when police believe the men cornered the cleric — who at one point was on his on his knees begging for his life.
“A priest, in the parking lot, was approached by four black males again believed, this is preliminary, to be the same suspects… one pointed a gun and pulled the trigger twice, but no shots were discharged,” said Acevedo. “Four suspects then physically beat the priest and took his cell phones.”
After attacking the priest the suspects approached a woman in her driveway, getting her attention by tapping on the window of her truck with a handgun. The men robbed the woman of her cell phone, purse and demanded the PIN to her debit card. They then fled the scene on her F-150 pickup.
The firefight happened after three people abandoned the truck and opened fire on officers.
Latest Update: Our Officer is out of surgery, currently stable, and he is in ICU. His family wanted to thank our community and the entire country for praying for him. They ask that you please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
— Joe Gamaldi (@JoeGamaldi) September 13, 2019
Thursday morning the vice president of the Houston Police Officers Union, Joe Gamaldi, sent a tweet saying the officer was out of surgery and stable, but still in the ICU. Chief Acevedo confirmed the officer was wearing a protective vest, but was hit by at least one bullet. The round hit the man in the lower extremities and according to Acevedo “caused a lot of damage”.
The suspect who was shot and killed has not been identified. The two suspects in custody are 17 and 39 years old respectively.
When asked about the suspect who remains at large Chief Acevedo said, “We’re going to get you. We’re gonna find you. One thing that we know about this city is that people care about the safety of their neighbors, they care about the safety of strangers and they care about the safety of their police officers.”
Saying that he believes that there are people who know the suspect and may be helping him the Chief offered some advice, “If you love this guy you need to tell him to turn himself in.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)