The Houston Police Department is mourning one of their own after a veteran officer drowned in the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey that left him trapped inside his squad vehicle.
Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo said said it was dark when longtime police Sgt. Steven Perez drove into water that flooded a 16-foot underpass.
The 60-year-old officer's wife had asked him not to go to work, but Acevedo said he went anyway.
The chief said Sgt. Steve Perez was trying to get to his primary post in downtown Houston about 4 a.m. Sunday, KPRC in Houston reported. When he could not find a path, he followed department protocol and tried to report to the nearest station, in Kingwood, a story from WFAA said.
Officials in Harris County - which includes Houston - told BuzzFeed News that in addition to two confirmed deaths, including Perez, they "highly suspect" seven additional deaths "are related to the hurricane". "We utilized other investigative techniques to try to locate him", said Acevedo. "They know it's going to be a while because we have some work to do ― work that he would want us to do".
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The department's dive team finally located the officer's body around 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The chief added, "I had the privilege of notifying his wife and his son and extended family that he died and laid down his life".
"Steve was one of the sweetest people I've met in this department...because he was a sweet, gentle public servant".
"When you have faith, there's hope", Acevedo said.