BELLAIRE - The shootings that rocked Bellaire on Christmas Eve morning have left people remembering the two men who lost their lives.
It all started with a car chase Monday morning, and ended with bullets soaring outside a Maaco auto body shop in the 5600 block of Bellaire. A 24-year Bellaire police veteran and an innocent bystander were killed.
Cpl. Jimmie Norman had chased the gunman to the scene of the shootings. The gunman, identified as 21-year-old Harlem Harold Lewis, reportedly opened fire before being taken down by police gunfire.
Police said Norman tried to pull over Lewis for a routine traffic stop, and that’s when Lewis fled.
According to police, Norman later approached Lewis’s car and ordered him to get out. Lewis allegedly shot Norman after a brief tussle.
Norman died shortly after arriving at Ben Taub Hospital.
A second man, who came outside of the Maaco business, was also shot during the ordeal. The innocent bystander, identified as Terry Taylor, was killed.
People paying tribute to the victims couldn’t comprehend the chain of events that ended with both men dead.
“He gave his life not only today, but he gave his life every day he put on that uniform,” said Jason Peery, who knew Norman.
Peery’s work as a wrecker driver brought him close to Norman. He said Norman always showed up with a smile.
“When you work with these people, you see them three or four times a week for 14 years, it affects you,” explained Peery. “You don’t want to see a police officer die in the line of duty, especially the day before Christmas.”
There are also heavy hearts for Taylor, who died outside the auto body shop that he operated for more than two decades.
“It was me in that office and him (Taylor) in that office right behind me. I could see him through the window. I’d go to pick up cars with him, help drop customers at their houses,” said Phillip Greene, who used to work for Taylor. “He was a real nice guy. He was probably coming out to help or do what he could do.”
Police said Taylor’s wife was inside the store when her husband was shot outside.
“I think it’s terrible. I have no idea what could bring someone to do that. I don’t even have words for that,” added Greene.
Friends said Taylor was a proud father, grandfather and veteran. Norman leaves behind a wife and two adult children. He was recognized by the FBI in 2010 for helping stop a string of bank robberies.