A Houston police officer died in the line of duty Monday when an unnamed suspect intentionally ran him over during a high-speed car chase, reports said. Officer Richard Martin, a 47-year-old man who worked at the Houston Police Department for the last four years, was struck with the vehicle as he tried to aid in the suspect’s capture.
Authorities in Houston were in pursuit early Monday morning of a suspect who drove a U-Haul truck, the Houston Chronicle reports. Police have yet to reveal the suspect’s name, but said he was a white man who also fired a gun from his car window during the chase. Martin was in the process of placing spike strips on a highway to prevent the suspect’s escape when he was struck and killed by the man’s vehicle. He died at the scene of the incident.
“Officer Martin attempted to deploy spike strips to disable the vehicle. We have every belief to indicate to us that the suspect intentionally struck and killed Officer Martin,” Houston Police Department chief Charles McClelland told KPRC-TV in Houston.
Police pursued the suspect to the Houston suburb of Little York, Texas. The man had a self-inflicted gunshot wound when authorities took him into custody. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but his status was unknown later on Monday morning. He will face unspecified felony charges if he recovers from his injuries.
It’s unclear why the suspect initially fled from police. A robbery of a Houston-area store may have preceded the chase, local Fox affiliate KRIV reports.
Martin is survived by a daughter and a son. Houston Mayor Annise Parker addressed his death in a statement Monday.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of another Houston Police Officer in the line of duty,” Parker said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Our men and women in blue leave their homes every day not knowing if they will return at the end of their shifts. They willingly place their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. I am praying for Officer Martin’s family and HPD as they mourn this loss. All of Houston mourns with them.”