Missouri City, TX – A Missouri City police officer was shot in the face while chasing an armed robbery suspect early Saturday morning.
The incident began after the Missouri City Police Department (MCPD) received a report of a stolen vehicle in the 800-block of Buffalo Run, KHOU reported.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the stolen car was tied to an aggravated robbery that took place in north Harris County on July 22.
MCPD officers spotted the stolen vehicle in the area of South Main Street and Fondren Street at approximately 2:30 a.m. on July 23 and attempted to pull the driver over, but he refused to stop, KHOU reported.
Police began chasing the suspect vehicle and called the Houston Police Department (HPD) for backup, Chief Finner said.
The pursuit continued to the 15500-block of Corsair, where the driver crashed and took off running on foot through a residential area, according to police.
As officers chased after him, the gunman allegedly opened fire on them, hitting 29-year-old MCPD Officer Crystal Sepulveda in her face and foot, KHOU reported.
Her fellow officers loaded her into a patrol car and rushed her to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
Multiple officers were seen carrying the wounded hero into the emergency room, KHOU reported.
HPD commanders & PIO are en route to a shooting involving a Missouri City police officer in the 6100 block of Maywood Dr.
The officer was transported to an area hospital. Condition unknown at this time.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) July 23, 2022
Meanwhile, additional officers set up a perimeter and searched for the gunman.
Police said the shooter opened fire on police when they located him in the backyard of a residence on Winter Briars Drive, so they returned fire, KTBC reported.
The gunman was shot multiple times during the gun battle.
He was subsequently transported to Ben Taub hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to KTBC.
Chief Finner said the suspect was armed with “two automatic guns with extended magazines” when he was apprehended, KPRC reported.
“We never celebrate the loss of life, but what (can we) do when a suspect is so violent? I’m not here to put him down. He has a family and we are praying for the family,” Chief Finner said, according to KTRK.
“Let’s not forget what happened out here,” the chief continued. “This suspect carjacked somebody (on Friday), then shot a police officer at another location. Then shot at officers at this location. He was armed with two automatic pistols with extended magazines. That’s what we’re facing and everybody needs to know it.”
No other officers were hit during the exchange of gunfire.
The suspect’s identity was not immediately released.
Police described him as an African American male between the ages of 25 and 30, according to KTBC.
MCPD Assistant Chief Lance Bothel said Officer Sepulveda is expected to survive her wounds, KHOU reported.
“She is a strong officer and she will make it through this,” Assistant Chief Bothel said.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Crystal Sepulveda, who was shot in the face and foot by an armed carjacking suspect early this morning.
She is in good condition and will survive her injures.
Prayers for a fast and full recovery. pic.twitter.com/1uVV6RViPU
— Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4 (@Pct4Constable) July 23, 2022
Officer Sepulveda has served the MCPD for the past three years, KHOU reported.
Her family and friends have been by her side at the hospital since the shooting occurred, the assistant chief added.
The HPD is handling the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting, KHOU reported.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will also conduct an independent investigation.
A fundraiser established to help Officer Sepulveda during her recovery has raised more than $26,000 so far.