HOUSTON, Texas — An as-yet-unidentified gunman shot and killed a Houston police sergeant as he drove to work on the city’s north side Monday afternoon. This marks the second fatal shooting of a Houston police sergeant in the past three weeks, third in 2020, and the fourth line-of-duty Houston police officer death in the past 12 months.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said an unknown gunman shot and killed Sergeant Sean Rios during an incident Monday afternoon on the Interstate 45 feeder road on the city’s north side, Fox 26 Houston reported. Rios was reported to be driving to work when he became engaged in a gun battle with the driver of a blue four-door Mercedes Benz. A motive for the gun battle has not yet been determined.
Houston police are engaged in a city-wide manhunt for the shooter Acevedo described as a Hispanic male in his mid to late 30s. He is reported to be heavily tattooed, the chief said.
Acevedo said they have found the Mercedes Benz and continue the search for the gunman. They are also searching for the driver of a black pickup truck that was at the scene and fled.
Houston Police Officer’s Union President Joe Gamaldi told Breitbart Texas on Tuesday that the department still does not know why the shooting took place.
“There are many possible scenarios for the shooting,” Gamaldi said. “We just don’t know.”
He said Sgt. Rios was driving his personal car to work for his 2 p.m. shift at the airport. He was wearing his uniform pants and a plain shirt.
Acevedo told reporters on Monday afternoon, “He (Sgt. Rios) was off duty in route to start his shift at 2 p.m. Remember, we got the call of shots fired at 1:30. Where you’re engaged in, taking police action and you’re in a shootout, I think it’s safe to think this is a line-of-duty death.”
Acevedo did not say, during this press conference, that the sergeant was responding to a call.
The chief reported that Rios was outside of his vehicle when the shooting began.
Following the shooting, Rios ran about 50 to 75 yards to a motel to try and get help, Acevedo stated. He collapsed and fire department paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
A witness told an ABC13 reporter, “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.”
Acevedo described the shooting suspect as a heavily tattooed Hispanic male.
Investigators located the alleged shooter’s Mercedes Benz. They have not yet located the suspect or the driver of the black pickup truck reported to be with the Mercedes. A city-wide manhunt is underway.
Acevedo appealed to the shooter to surrender and avoid any additional bloodshed. “We are going to catch you,” he said. “Do yourself a favor and turn yourself in.”
The chief also appealed to anyone who may know the suspect to provide information.
Sergeant Rios leaves behind four children, he said.
Three weeks ago, an illegal alien allegedly shot and killed Houston Police Sergeant Harold Preston who responded to a domestic disturbance with another officer, Breitbart Texas reported.
Police arrested 51-year-old Elmer Rolando Manzano-Martinez in connection with the shooting. Manzano is a Salvadoran national who is illegally present in the United States, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
In December, a gunman shot and killed Houston Police Sergeant Christopher Brewster who responded to a domestic violence situation on the city’s east side.
Arturo Solis, a 25-year-old U.S. citizen, allegedly shot and killed Brewster shortly after he arrived on the scene.
In May, Houston Police Flight Officer Jason Knox died when the police helicopter he was riding in crashed near an apartment. The pilot and Knox responded to a call about bodies being found in a nearby bayou. No bodies were ever found. Cheif Acevedo told reporters it was “probably a bogus call.”
Officer Knox was the son of Houston City Councilman Mike Knox.
Sergeant Sean Rios is the 243 police officer or federal agent to die in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. The group reports 41 officers died direction from gunfire (not including inadvertent gunfire).
The group also reports that 136 law enforcement officers are considered to have died in the line of duty after contracting COVID-19.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.