HOUSTON — An officer with the Bellaire Police Department died Monday following a chase and a shootout that also killed an innocent bystander, police said.
The shooting was reported just before 9 a.m. outside a business in the 5600 block of Bellaire Boulevard, according to the Houston Police Department. Bellaire police confirmed it was one of their officers who was shot, however.
The officer was sent to Ben Taub Hospital in critical condition where he was later pronounced dead. An innocent bystander was also struck by the suspect’s bullets and died at the scene, according to Bellaire police.
Views from Air 11 showed at least a dozen bullet casing markers in the parking lot of the business, an auto paint and body shop.
Police said the shooter was subsequently shot by officers arriving at the scene. They said the suspect tried to hide at a neighboring business but was soon taken into custody and sent to the hospital in critical condition.
“You get tired of seeing this,” witness Stephanie Pacheco told KHOU 11 News. “You get tired of seeing innocent people die.”
She said she saw the chase as it came to an end. The first vehicle was the suspect’s Honda, the second was a white pickup, and the third was the Bellaire police officer.
The truck and the officer followed the Honda into the Maaco shop’s parking lot. When it was clear they could go no further, Pacheco said the officer left his vehicle to approach the Honda.
“He is in the car trying to pull the guy out of the car,” she said. “And I’m wondering ‘why are you trying to pull this guy out of the car and you’re by yourself?’”
That is when she said several shots were fired. An HPD spokesman said the wounded officer never had a chance to return fire.
“These people had families,” Pacheco said. “This is the day before Christmas, for crying out loud, and you know it just doesn’t make any sense that things have gone to pot like it is now.”
The Bellaire police chief identified the killed bystander as a Maaco customer.
As for the driver of the pickup, investigators were still questioning him as of noon. They said it appeared the Honda may have hit his vehicle in the city of Bellaire and then sped off, triggering a pursuit that went into the city of Houston.