Texas officer recounts being shot during pursuit

Mike Glen, Dina Capiello, Staff
The Houston Chronicle 
Copyright 2006 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved

A Meadows Place police officer struck by gunfire Friday during a cross-county chase with a pair of carjacking suspects says that what happened to him was "the best of a bad situation."

The bullet that hit Sgt. Larry Eissler left his right arm a mass of bruises extending from shoulder to elbow but narrowly missed arteries, nerves and bones.

"The good Lord was riding with me that day," Eissler said Sunday, after his release from Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Another wound on his right forearm also may have been the result of gunfire, Eissler said.

"There's quite a bit of pain - and it looks rather dramatic - but I'm dealing with it," said Eissler, 56.

Eissler doesn't think he could have done anything any differently that day.

"It evolved so fast," he said. "We rely on our training and our experience to take over and carry us through."

The events began about 10 a.m. when Tamina Hamid, 25, of Katy, posed as a hitchhiker looking for a ride to a church near Brighton and Murphy Road, police said.

Joseph Flores, 34, is accused of being her accomplice. Police think the Houston man pulled up behind a Toyota 4Runner and robbed the driver. The carjacker allegedly fired a pistol, grazing the victim's head, police said. The two then fled in the man's vehicle.

Eissler was finishing some paperwork in his office at the Meadows Place Police Department when he heard that an officer had spotted the stolen vehicle and was chasing it.

Eissler swung in behind the SUV near West Airport and South Dairy Ashford, where traffic was stacked up because of a stoplight.

He pulled up near the vehicle to keep it blocked in, and the driver leaned out of the car with a pistol in hand, then fired.

Eissler spotted the muzzle flash, immediately followed by an explosion of glass as a bullet shattered the passenger-side window of his patrol car.

"I felt the bullet hit in my shoulder, but I didn't know how badly I was injured," he said.

Although wounded, Eissler was able to return fire. "I was mad that they had the audacity to shoot me," he said.

The carjackers then drove to a Chevron station and stole a white pickup while the victim, identified by police as Jeff Drescher, was pumping gas.

The chase continued through several neighborhoods in Sugar Land, then moved onto the Southwest Freeway. It ended when the driver hit another truck near Texas 6 and both suspects were apprehended.

Hamid and Flores face charges of attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery. Authorities said more charges could be filed.

Eissler's greatest concern was how his family would react to his shooting.

"That's the call that no officer's family ever wants to receive," he said, his voice wavering. "But that's the profession that we choose."

Eissler will spend about two to three weeks on light duty as his wounds heal.

Eissler wears a St. Christopher medal for protection and a slim band around his wrist that says, "Heroes Live Forever."

"The wish and prayer of every officer is that we go home at the end of our shift," he said. "I made it through this one (and) there will be more." 
Reporter Dina Capiello contributed to this report. mike.glenn@chron.com 
June 5, 2006



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