After two police officers were shot and one suspect was killed while police responded to a burglary, areas of southwest Houston near Bellfort and Beltway 8 remained on lockdown for much of Tuesday afternoon as police searched for a suspect on the loose. He has not yet been found.
Around 11 a.m. Tuesday, police responded to a burglary at the 800 block of Sterling Lane. Twenty minutes later, officers patrolling a nearby area were flagged down by neighbors who advised them of another burglary underway, Chief Art Acevedo said at a press briefing.
Searching the area for the burglars, police noticed a storage-shed door ajar, which a resident said was suspicious — but as two officers approached the shed, a man emerged and shot at them. They returned fire, Acevedo said, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both officers sustained multiple gunshot wounds and were transported to the hospital immediately. Officer Ronny Cortez, a 24-year HPD veteran, was shot three times and was in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital Medical Center as of 2:30 Tuesday, Dr. David Persse told reporters. Officer Jose Munoz was transported to Ben Taub Hospital but did not have any life-threatening injuries, Persse said.
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Acevedo said the officers' families have been notified, and Munoz's daughter, who is off at college, is on her way home.
The chief asked residents in surrounding neighborhoods — those south of Bellfort Avenue, west of South Gessner, north of West Airport and east of Beltway 8 and Sam Houston Tollway — to shelter in place as cops searched the area. Around 5 p.m., Houston ISD lifted the lockdown for three schools in the area, including Valley West Elementary, Gross Elementary and Welch Middle School.
Multiple tactical units continue to search for the second burglar.
"We will assume that the second suspect at large is armed and dangerous," Acevedo said. "If he's in a house hiding somewhere, we're not leaving. We have hundreds of officers in the area, and we will not give up this search for a while. I want to apologize to that neighborhood for the inconvenience going on for the next few hours, but someone who's willing to shoot two fully uniformed officers in broad daylight after committing a burglary is someone who will not hesitate to shoot a member of that community."