Published On: Tue, Jan 29th, 2019

4 HPD Officers Shot In Southeast Houston Narcotics Operation, A Fifth Injured

Five Houston Police Officers were hospitalized after they were injured while serving a narcotics warrant in southeast Houston Monday afternoon, with at least four being hit by gunfire, police confirmed.

4 HPD officers shot

The incident occurred at about 5 p.m., according to police, in the Pecan Park neighborhood, near Harding St. and Fennell.

According to law enforcement sources, one of the wounded officers was shot in the face. The incident occurred after the officers — from the Narcotics Division — were serving a warrant, sources said.

Houston Narcotics Cmdr. Paul Follis said the conditions of the officers ranged from “pretty good, to really bad.”

“They’re all hanging on,” he said, at about 6:45 p.m., adding one was headed into surgery.

One officer suffered a knee injury, Follis said, but he did not appear to have been shot.

Three officers were in stable condition and two were in critical condition, according to Houston Police Officers Union President Joe Gamaldi.

A law enforcement source told the Chronicle narcotics officers had previously made undercover purchases at that location and were able to get a warrant to enter the house and search it.

The officers were at the door of the location when gunfire erupted from within, the source said.

“We have had several officers shot please pray for officers on the way to the scene now more information to follow,” Acevedo wrote, in a tweet posted shortly after the shooting.

Two suspects were shot and killed, Acevedo said, in a news conference later Monday evening.

Two LifeFlight helicopters could be seen landing in the area, as ambulances rushed other officers to Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center.

They were followed soon after by Police Chief Art Acevedo, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and dozens of other law enforcement officers from HPD and other agencies.

Some didn’t even know the wounded individuals, but rushed to the hospital anyways.

“We heard officers down and we came over,” one said, declining to be identified.

The third ambulance arrived at the hospital around 6:30 p.m.

More than two blocks surrounding the home were taped off as law enforcement descended into the neighborhood, with Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives among them.

Sofia Franco was on her way home from work when she got a text from her husband, warning her to stay clear.

“Be careful,” he warned her. “They’re shooting police officers two blocks down from the house.”

Other residents milled about. One handed out bottles of water to officers from a red wagon.

A social worker who lives around the corner from police shooting has called the neighborhood home for decades. She has watched many of the residences turn into rentals.

“I’ve been living here for 30 something years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said, declining to identify herself because of her occupation. “But now people of the neighborhood are getting old, moving out and renting their houses so there’s new movement in the neighborhood.”

State government officials reacted Monday evening, offering statements of sympathy and pledges to help HPD with the investigation.

“This evening’s horrific attack on police officers is a solemn reminder of the service and sacrifice our brave men and women in law enforcement make every day to keep us safe,” Gov. Greg Abbott said, in the statement. “I ask all Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for the officers injured, and for the continued safety of all law enforcement officers who protect our communities.”

The last Houston police officer to die in a violent crime was Richard Martin in May 2015 when he was hit and killed by a chase suspect while setting up spike strips. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office lost one of their own later that year in August. Deputy Darren Goforth was shot and killed next to his patrol car while pumping gas in Cypress. In 2017, veteran lawman and Precinct 3 Constable’s Office Assistant Chief Deputy Clint Greenwood was ambushed and shot to death as he walked into work in Baytown.