• Sgt. Sean Rios was shot during a gun battle near a motel
  • The officer ran inside the motel for help but he collapsed in the lobby
  • The officer was a 25-year veteran of the Houston Police Department

A Houston police officer was shot dead during a gun battle near a motel Monday afternoon.

Sgt. Sean Rios, 47, with the Houston Police Department, was on his way to work in his car when the suspect opened fire at the vehicle. The suspect, who was in a blue four-door Mercedes, then fled the scene. Local reports stated that the officer too returned fire. It wasn't clear if the suspect was struck by the bullets.

The officer then ran into the nearby Taj Inn & Suites for help. He collapsed in the motel's lobby and died. His body has since been taken to the medical examiner's office.

Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed the incident in a tweet saying, "Our hearts are broken over the death of Houston Police Sergeant Sean Rios who was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire this afternoon."

He told local media outlets that the gunman was on the run and a manhunt was underway for him.

"We are going to catch you, we are coming after you, we're going capture you. Do yourself a favor and turn yourself in," Acevedo said, NBC-affiliated television station WTHR reported.

The gunman was described as a Hispanic male in 30s, wearing a white t-shirt and dark pants with tattoos on both his arms. He is believed to be around 5'10 to 6'1 tall with a thin build.

The officer was a 25-year veteran of the Houston Police Department and was survived by four children and his parents, ABC 13 reported.

"We will never forget him and will see his 4 children, family and friends through this painful loss. RIP," Acevedo tweeted.

In a news conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner offered condolences to the officer's family saying, "I'm going to ask this city to pray for Sgt. Rios' family, for his children, for his parents. They are in a great deal of pain right now. This is a tragic case and it's been a really rough year in our city."

This is a developing story.

Representative image AFP / Johannes EISELE