By Juan A. Lozano
HOUSTON — A Houston traffic stop ended with a gunman shooting and killing a police officer and a bystander on Christmas Eve in the parking lot of a body shop, police said.
The incident that began shortly before 9 a.m. Monday quickly evolved from a routine traffic stop into a violent confrontation when the suspect sped off in his black car rather than pull over as the police 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 and the white truck eventually pulled into a nearby Maaco body shop, and that is when the officer with the Bellaire Police Department approached the vehicle, Cannon added. Apparently, he said, an argument of sorts erupted, and the suspect pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and shot the officer.
"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."
A man then walked out of the body shop, and the suspect fired at him, Cannon said.
Other officers arrived at the scene and a gunfight erupted between the police and the suspect. The suspect was shot and fled on foot, Cannon said. He hid under a parked truck but officers followed a trail of blood and arrested him.
Police have not released the identities of the officer, the bystander or the suspect.
The suspect remains in a Houston hospital where he is in critical but stable condition. Cannon said he is expected to survive.
The suspect shot the bystander at close range, and he died at the scene, Cannon said. It wasn't clear why the man stepped outside the body shop or whether he was an employee or a customer, he added. The officer was rushed to a Houston hospital where he died.
Houston and Bellaire police and the Harris County District Attorney's office are investigating. Cannon said the suspect likely would face a multitude of charges, including capital murder of a police officer.
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Copyright 2012 Associated Press