HOUSTON (AP) — A traffic stop turned into a fatal shooting on Christmas Eve when a gunman killed a police officer and bystander in the parking lot of a Houston body shop, police said.
The confrontation followed a chase that began shortly before 9 a.m. Monday when the suspect sped off in his car rather than pull over as an officer had requested, Houston police spokesman John Cannon said. As the suspect fled, he sideswiped a white truck, which also took off after him, he said.
The suspect, identified by Cannon as Harlem Harold Lewis, 21, and the white truck eventually pulled into a nearby Maaco body shop, where Bellaire police Cpl. Jimmie Norman approached the vehicle. Cannon said an argument apparently erupted, and the suspect pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and shot Norman.
"The saddest thing is that the officer, who is deceased, didn't have the opportunity to pull his weapon and defend himself," Cannon said. "It happened that fast."
He said a man then walked out of the body shop, and the suspect shot him.
Other officers arrived at the scene and found Norman lying on the ground and the suspect next to him, holding a gun, Cannon said.
"They are immediately fired upon, and those two officers then returned fire," he said.
The suspect was shot but fled on foot, Cannon said. He hid under a parked truck, but officers followed a trail of blood and arrested him.
"This suspect murdered a police officer and murdered an innocent bystander," Cannon said.
He said Lewis was expected to be charged later Monday with capital murder of a police officer and murder for the death of the bystander.
Norman, 53, worked for the Bellaire Police Department for 23 years and was the first of its officers to be shot in the line of duty, Bellaire police spokesman Robert Beran said.
"We're devastated by his loss. We're devastated by what this has done to his family," Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway told reporters at a news conference. Continued...