Houston Police Officer Killed During Tropical Storm Harvey Response


Steve Perez, an officer with the Houston Police Department for 34 years, drowned in his patrol vehicle in Harvey flood waters, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday afternoon. He became trapped in high water at Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll Road and couldn't escape.

Chief Acevedo said Perez' family urged him not to leave the house but the officer told them, "We have work to do".

The police department did not immediately return The Independent's request for comment.

His eyes filling with tears and his voice cracking with emotion, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo pledged that the city and department would give the slain officer, who drowned in the flooding, full honors. Perez was assigned to the city's traffic enforcement division, but he was unable to find a path to the station.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houstonians should celebrate Perez's life, and be proud of the work he did.

Acevedo said the officer's death is hitting the department hard, especially because so many officers are stressed from working non-stop while floodwater rises.

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On the morning of August 29, the dive team went out in the darkness and determined that "Sgt. Perez drove into an underpass drove into the water and he died in the flood in a drowning type of event", Arcevedo said.

Acevedo added that Perez's family asked him not to go to work that day, but he said, "We've got work to do".

The 34-year department veteran's body was recovered from his auto early Tuesday morning.

"He was trying different routes, and took a wrong turn", one high-ranking official said.

At least four people have died since Harvey first slammed into Texas as a category four hurricane on Friday.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast Friday night, bringing heavy rains and unsafe flooding across southeastern Texas that is expected to continue throughout the week. It was downgraded Saturday to a tropical storm.