Houston, TX – Houston Police Department (HPD) Sgt. Sean Rios was murdered in the line of duty on Monday after responding to a report of a shooting as he was on his way to work.
The 47-year-old sergeant was heading to work in his black Kia at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 9, when he received a report that shots had been fired and someone was hurt, HPD Chief Art Acevedo told reporters during a news conference, according to CNN.
Sgt. Rios responded to the 7700-block of Interstate 45 North near West Canino road and Stuebner Airline Road, where he soon came under fire, KHOU reported.
Witnesses said the shots came from a blue, four-door Mercedes parked across the street, according to police.
Chief Acevedo said Sgt. Rios returned fire, but it is unknown whether or not he hit the gunman, KHOU reported.
The wounded sergeant managed to stumble into the lobby of the Taj Inn & Suites, where he collapsed.
A witness told KTRK that they heard gunshots and then saw a police officer running toward the motel office.
“He was just bleeding everywhere, all over, and just not running right. He entered the office at the motel and he collapsed right in there,” the witness said.
Sgt. Rios was pronounced dead at the scene, Chief Acevedo told reporters.
Investigators said they believe they have located the blue Mercedes the suspect was using when he opened fire on the sergeant, according to KHOU.
They also believe that someone in a black pickup truck helped the gunman flee the scene, Chief Acevedo said.
The shooter is described as a Hispanic male in his mid-to-late 30s, KHOU reported.
He has a thin build, and is estimated to be between five feet, 10 inches and six feet, one inch tall.
The gunman, who has tattoos on both arms, was last seen wearing dark pants and a white t-shirt, KHOU reported.
“We are going to catch you, we are coming after you,” Chief Acevedo told the suspect during the press conference on Monday. “Do yourself a favor and turn yourself in.”
Further details regarding what led up to the fatal attack have not been released.
Sgt. Rios, a 25-year veteran of the HPD, leaves behind his four children, ages 9, 12, 14, and 17, KHOU reported.
He is also survived by his parents, brother, and two cousins who are also HPD officers, according to CNN.
“Please pray for Rios’ family, for his extended HPD family and for this community,” Chief Acevedo asked.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called Sgt. Rios’ murder a tragedy during the press conference on Monday.
“I’m asking the city to pray for this family to lift them up. And then I want the city to pray for the police officers,” Turner said, according to CNN. “And then I want people in this city to pray for this city because this has been a crazy year.”
Our hearts are broken over the death of @houstonpolice Sergeant Sean Rios who was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire this afternnon. We will never forget him and will see his 4 children, family and friends through this painful loss. RIP pic.twitter.com/QBHx2bymWY
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) November 10, 2020
Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer Sgt. Sean Rios of the Houston Police Department, who was shot and killed in the line of duty this evening. Our prayers are with Sgt. Rios, his family, and @houstonpolice @HPOUTX.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2020
Sgt Sean Rios of @houstonpolice was shot and killed earlier today while on his way to work. This marks the death of 2 Sgts at the HPD over the last 2 weeks. As we mourn his loss, we send our condolences to his family, including his 4 children. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/SBKKb01gC5
— Brotherhood NYC (@bftfnyc) November 10, 2020
Officers can be seen comforting one another as they walk to the building.
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) November 10, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Houston Police Department Sgt. Sean Rios, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Sergeant Sean Rios, your life mattered.