HOUSTON — A Houston police officer was rushed to the hospital early Monday after a traffic stop turned into a shootout.
The officer was struck twice, but KHOU 11 News has learned he will be OK. The shooting happened at about midnight on the north side of town, according to the Houston Police Department.
HPD said officers spotted a blue Ford Explorer weaving through traffic. Police said the man would not stop his SUV until he was cornered in a cul-de-sac near Saddle Rock and Sweetwater.
Police said the suspect, 32-year-old Jared Alvarez, ignored officers’ commands to get out of his SUV with his hands up. Instead, they said the suspect jumped out and started shooting, striking Officer W. Fikes in each arm. A second officer jumped out of his car and shot the suspect, killing him.
The gunfire woke up nearby residents.
“One cop was down,” said a neighbor. “The cop is not going to sit there and unload his weapon without a reason. When you have a man who is just going to sit there and shoot at a cop, what can you say? He shot about five or six times. That was about the end of it.”
The injured officer, a two-year veteran, is expected to be out of the hospital in the next 24 hours.
KHOU 11 News spoke with Alvarez’s father. He said his son had a history of trouble with the law, including robbery charges. Alvarez and his 11-year-old daughter lived one block away from where the shooting occurred.
Alvarez’s friend Daniel Torres was trying to understand what happened.
“I feel like why he do that? It’s stupid. He should have just got his ticket,” he said.
Torres said Alvarez didn’t want to go back to prison and mentioned it often.
“He told me all the time. He wasn’t going to go back for nothing,” Torres said.
Victoria Torres, another neighbor, agreed.
“I think that was the main thing. He was afraid to go back to jail so he did it the wrong way,” Victoria Torres said.
Fikes is expected to make a full recovery. A friend said that the officer is a dedicated church volunteer and former youth minister at the Impact Church of Christ.
“He always does more than anybody asks of him and he has a heart for people, that’s why he was here for so long,” Dennis Jaeger said. Jaeger said Fikes led Bible studies, and took kids camping and fishing.
“It’s interesting, whenever I see on TV that an officer has been shot, I always watch to make sure that it’s not him so it’s kind of crazy that this time it was,” he said.
Jaeger said Fikes, a husband and father of two young boys, continued to help the church even after becoming one of Houston’s finest.