Harris County detective shot, killed in the line of duty

A Texas detective was killed Thursday morning after he was ambushed while pursuing an aggravated assault suspect, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office announced. The suspect remains on the run and a manhunt is underway.

The unidentified detective was 28 years old and had been with the sheriff’s office for five years, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on social media.

In a news conference early Thursday morning, HCSO Chief Deputy Mike Lee said the incident began around 10:10 p.m. on Wednesday when a call came in for an aggravated assault at the Little Caesars Pizza on Wallisville Road in northeast Houston.

An employee at the store was reportedly assaulted by a customer who came to the location to pick up a pizza and became upset when his order was wrong. The customer, who has not been identified, allegedly verbally assaulted the employee before pulling out a gun, pistol whipping them and fleeing in a vehicle.


Harris County Sheriff's Office uniform

A 28-year-old detective with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office died early Thursday morning after he was ambushed while pursuing an aggravated assault suspect, according to the agency. (Harris County Sheriff’s Office)

The employee was able to provide police with the car’s make, model and license plate number, Lee said. Detectives and officers on patrol began looking for the vehicle and entered the license plate number into the city’s Flock camera system, where they were able to determine a specific location with a history of hits.

Several detectives went to that area to look for the vehicle, but broke away when they couldn’t find it, Lee said. One detective went back to the area and notified others that he had found the vehicle, but not the suspect, and he was setting up on the car.

Lee said there was some confusion with radio transmissions, but they knew he was having a phone conversation with another detective and, during that conversation, the detective was “apparently ambushed.”

Officers rushed to the location, which Gonzalez said was in the 13200 block of Italian Cypress Trail, and found the detective’s undercover vehicle riddled with bullets. The detective was struck multiple times and was in critical condition.

“Due to the severity of the injuries and the adjacent location of this hospital, they decided it was probably in the best interest not to wait for EMS, and they placed our deputy in one of our patrol vehicles and rushed him here to the emergency room where he succumbed to his gunshot wounds,” Lee said.

Harris County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Mike Lee said the 28-year-old detective was "apparently ambushed" after locating what he believed to be the vehicle belonging to an aggravated assault suspect.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Lee said the 28-year-old detective was “apparently ambushed” after locating what he believed to be the vehicle belonging to an aggravated assault suspect. (Harris County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

The unidentified detective was a member of a “very elite task force,” according to Lee.

“This group, every day, goes out and hunts down child rapists, homicide suspects, some of the most egregious criminals out there and that’s what they do every day for a living,” Lee said. “And he was very good at his job. Very well thought of.”


As of Thursday morning, the suspect remains on the run, but Lee said law enforcement agencies have a “good idea” of who he is and have set up SWAT teams at two locations in efforts to apprehend him. 

“I have no doubt between the forces of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department that we will have this suspect in custody in a very timely manner,” Lee said.

While his description is vague, the suspect is a Black male last seen wearing a hat and a black shirt with a jersey with unknown writing on it. His age is unknown.

Gonzalez expressed his “extreme sadness” on social media and said the department “will not rest” until the suspect is behind bars.

“None of us are ever prepared for such an untimely death and our members need your prayers and support. Our thoughts are with his family as they come to terms with this horrible news. An active investigation is underway to identify and apprehend his killer. We will not rest until we do!” he wrote on X. 


The last Harris County deputy to be shot and killed was Deputy Sheriff Darren Almendarez on March 31, 2022, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. 

He was off duty when he confronted three people attempting to steal a catalytic converter, resulting in a struggle that ended in gunfire. Two of the suspects were shot, but survived.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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