Houston police officer drowns in Hurricane Harvey floods

A veteran Houston cop driving to work tragically drowned when his patrol auto became trapped in swirling waters raging through the hurricane-hit Texas city, The Houston Chronicle reported.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo became emotional while discussing the death of his officer Sgt. Steve Perez.

A 34-year veteran of the Houston Police Department drowned in his patrol vehicle while responding to deadly Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, officials said Tuesday afternoon.

"Our investigation has determined that he spent 2.5 hours driving around trying to get to his duty station in the traffic enforcement division, in downtown Houston", the chief said.

The dive team returned and discovered Perez' body Tuesday morning, Acevedo said. The Houston Chronicle, the first organization to report on Perez's death, reported that his patrol auto was found at Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll road.

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Chief Acevedo says Sgt. Perez was one of the sweetest people in the department, calling him a gentle public servant. "His response was 'We got work to do'". According to CBS Dallas Fort Worth, Perez's family had asked him to stay home on Sunday because of the risky weather conditions, but Sgt. Perez insisted.

"He wasn't just taken from the Houston Police Department. he was taken from the people of Houston".

Officials in Harris County - which includes Houston - told BuzzFeed News that in addition to two confirmed deaths, including Perez, they "highly suspect" seven additional deaths "are related to the hurricane".

"He was seeking to serve this city and all those who would come to our city", Mayor Sylvester Turner said. As much as we wanted to recover him last night, we couldn't put other officers at risk in what we knew was going to be a recovery mission.

  • Megan Austin