HOUSTON — A veteran Houston police officer died from his injuries, while a second wounded officer remains in surgery and is believed to be in stable condition. The officers were part of a team serving a narcotics-related arrest warrant early Monday, Houston officials said in their latest update.
The officer who was murdered was identified as William “Bill” Jeffrey, a nearly 31-year veteran of the department. He was shot several times and did not survive his injuries, KHOU 11 reported.
Houston Police Sgt. Michael Vance was identified as the second officer who sustained gunshot wounds. The 20-year veteran was reportedly in surgery at the last update. His condition is believed to be stable.
The wanted suspect opened fire and was killed during the gun battle, police said.
Members assigned to HPD’s Major Offenders Division arrived at the residence at about 7:28 a.m. Monday to serve a narcotics-related arrest warrant. A woman answered the door and spoke with officers who asked for the location of the unnamed suspect, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said at a press conference later Monday.
The man who was the focal point of the investigation came out and opened fire on the officers even though his girlfriend and small children were present in the apartment. The suspect struck Jeffrey several times. Vance was also hit, though Finner would not specify where on his body, Fox News reported.
Earlier reports indicated one officer was shot in the stomach while the other was shot in the leg.
Officers returned fire, striking the 31-year-old suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
KHOU 11 has identified the suspect who was killed as Deon Ledet, 30, although Finner declined to confirm the suspect’s identity at the time of publication.
Meanwhile, the chief kept the focus on the fatally wounded officer.
“Most of us know him personally. I’ve known him his entire career,” Finner said of slain Officer Jeffrey, asking the city of Houston for prayers. “Just as his wife said, what a great man. What a great officer. His wife just retired, building their dream home with one kid. Right now, I want to celebrate the service of him and all of our other officers around the nation and in this great city… We are going to uphold the family number one, and we are going to uphold our city and do whatever we can in cooperation with our citizens to crush violent crime.”
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed that officers were serving a “very serious, high level, felony warrant” related to narcotics, but additional details were not immediately available. The sheriff said they’d be made available at a later time, Fox News reported.
“Our heart breaks for our brothers and sisters with the Houston Police Department,” Gonzalez added.
“This has been a tragic day today. It is another reminder that police work is inherently dangerous,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “Police officers never know what they are going to face when they leave their homes during the course of their duty. It is inherently dangerous.”