A Texas police officer was shot dead Friday in a “senseless act of violence” in a “disturbance” outside a grocery store, according to officials and reports.
The officer, identified as Richard Houston, was among those responding to the disturbance around 1:40 p.m. Friday, when he was shot multiple times, the Mesquite Police Department said on its Facebook page. The cop was pronounced dead at 2:11 p.m. at Baylor Hospital, the department said.
The suspect was shot once during the altercation, according to the statement.
The alleged shooter is in critical condition at a local hospital, according to WFAA.
It’s unclear who fired their weapon first.
Witnesses told the station they were startled by the shooting.
“It’s very close to home. I live on the other side of this Albertson’s. It’s scary,” one woman at the scene said, according to WFAA. “Whether it’s a victim or it’s a police officer, nobody deserves to be hurt like that.”
Houston was a 21-year veteran of the Mesquite police department who had racked up several accolades, according to the Mesquite police chief and the department’s Facebook post.
“This was a senseless act of violence that ripped a loving father and husband from his family,” Chief Gill said Friday evening while tearing up. “He was a good man, a good friend, a good officer.”
Local police officials paid tribute to the fallen cop.
“We know that there’s always a possibility where one of us will have to lay down our lives,” Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia told WFAA. “This officer’s a hero. He did exactly that.”
In a statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of the Mesquite Police Department officer who passed away this evening.”
“This tragedy is a solemn reminder of the risks our law enforcement officers take every day by putting their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities,” he added.
Mesquite Mayor Mayor Daniel Alemán Jr. announced a vigil for Houston will be held in front of the police department, according to CBS 21.