HOUSTON — The Missouri City police officer who was shot by a suspect last weekend has a long road to recovery ahead.
Officer Crystal Sepulveda, 29, remains in the hospital, but her spirits remain high even after being shot multiple times on Saturday.
The incident started when Sepulveda and other officers spotted a car that had been reported stolen during a carjacking in northwest Harris County. Sepulveda and the other officers tried to pull the car over in southwest Harris County, but the driver led them on a chase.
Eventually, the suspect stopped the car and bailed on foot. Police said the suspect ran to the backyard of a house, and when Sepulveda got to the backyard to try to find him, he opened fire -- striking her three times.
"She went down immediately ... struck in the face by a bullet," Missouri City Police Chief Michael Berezin said. "Then (she) was able to struggle back to her feet."
Officers took Sepulveda to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, where she was treated for her injuries, which are considered to be non-life-threatening.
Berezin said Sepulveda was shot in the face, left calf and left toe. The bullet that hit her in the face shattered her cheek and exited through her ear. She recently underwent reconstructive surgery.
After shooting Sepulveda in the backyard of a home in the 15500 block of Corsair Road, police said the suspect ran to another backyard in the 15500 block of Winter Brian Drive.
Two Houston Police Department officers, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper and a Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office deputy found the suspect, and when they entered the backyard, officials said, the suspect opened fire on them, too. They returned fire and struck the suspect several times. The suspect was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"She was just trying to make the community safer and get the bad person off the street. He chose to hide and intentionally ambush her," Texas Municipal Police Association Field Service Supervisor Clint McNear said.
Despite her injuries, officials said Sepulveda is staying in good spirits. Berezin hopes she's able to make a full recovery and return to the force, because she's one of the best he has.
"An amazing person and outstanding officer. She is extremely well-rounded and she volunteers to do a lot of extra duty things," Berezin said.
HPD, the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office, the Texas Rangers and Missouri City Police Department are all conducting their own investigations.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Sepulveda with expenses.