Houston Police Chief: Vest Saves Life of Officer Shot 3 Times

Dec. 4, 2023
A tactical vest is being credited with saving the life of a Houston police sergeant who was shot in the arm, leg and side when a suspect opened fire into his cruiser.

By Peter Warren and Hana Ikramuddin

Source Houston Chronicle

A Sharpstown shootout left one man dead and a Houston police sergeant injured Saturday morning.

Police said the man approached Sgt. Mauricio Valle from the front passenger window of his car and shot into the vehicle multiple times near the 6900 block of Harwin Drive around 1:15 a.m.

Valle got out of the car and shot at the suspect, who ran away but was later found with gunshot wounds.

Officers rendered first aid, and Houston Fire Department paramedics announced the suspect, 23, dead at the scene. Officers did not name the man, who will be identified by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, according to a statement from Houston police.

The sergeant and two other Houston police officers were following the man, suspected of several burglaries as well as an aggravated assault and robbery, according to police.

The suspect and a woman were apparently looking into the nearby businesses as a possible burglary target before the shootout began, Chief Troy Finner said at a news conference. The woman was detained following Saturday morning's shooting, although whether she was a suspect or a witness is unknown.

Douglas Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, posted a picture of an unmarked car with scratches and gunshots on it along with a statement that he was glad that the officer survived.

We are truly blessed that our officer, and my friend is still here. I'm am proud that his training and will to live won last night and pray for a quick recovery! #blessed

Valle, 38, was sent to Memorial Hermann at the Texas Medical Center, according to a news release from Houston police. Valle has been with Houston police since 2007 and is on Midwest Patrol Division.

Finner said the sergeant was hit three times — once in the arm, once in the leg and once in the side — and credited a tactical vest with saving the officer's life. He is expected to make a full recovery, and is scheduled for surgery Saturday, according a statement from the department posted to X, a social media site formerly known as Twitter.

The chief did not say whether the officers were wearing body-worn camera devises.

Officers have killed 10 suspects in 2023. An unidentified Houston Police officer shot and killed a teenager after a shootout in September. At least three Houston Police officers shot at and killed a carjacking suspect Nov. 12. The shootout injured a 28-year-old unidentified West Side Patrol Division officer.

As is protocol, the Saturday shooting is being investigated by the Houston Police Department's Special Investigations Unit, the Internal Affairs Division and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.


(c)2023 the Houston Chronicle

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