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HPD officer relieved of duty after shooting wife in face during argument, Chief Finner says

Investigators said Galib Waheed Chowdhury, 31, shot his wife during a domestic violence incident. HPD Chief Troy Finner said he was immediately relieved of duty.

HOUSTON — A woman is in the hospital after being shot in her face by an off-duty officer, according to the Houston Police Department.

The shooting happened at The Westerly apartments off Clay Road near Beltway 8 in west Houston just before 1 a.m. Monday.

Galib Waheed Chowdhury is charged with aggravated assault of a family member causing serious bodily injury, according to authorities. He had his first court appearance on Monday night.

Investigators said Chowdhury, 31, shot his wife in the face, possibly with a rifle, during an apparent domestic violence incident. She was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.

HPD Chief Troy Finner said Chowdhury had been with the department for two years. Finner said he was immediately relieved of his duties and arrested.

"We all took an oath to serve and protect, but we’re human as well and this hurts, OK? It hurts all of us," Finner said. "I don't want people to forget the great, great work thousands of officers do every day. This is the exception rather than the rule ... but at the same time, I think it's important for the public to know there's accountability here at HPD."

WATCH: Chief Finner update after off-duty officer shoots wife in her face

Finner said HPD doesn't issue rifles, but that it could be a rifle that was self-purchased and registered through the agency.

Meanwhile, Chowdhury's charges could be "enhanced" as the investigation continues. Police have not said what led up to the shooting.

Chowdhury's wife was in surgery on Monday morning, and despite being shot in the face, her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Mental health resources

According to HPD officials, the department has a peer assistance program and also offers free mental health and other support to both officers and their families. That’s in addition to what the Houston Police Officer’s Union provides.

"We have specially trained retirees that do a phenomenal job with our officers that are dealing with stress or any kind of mental issue or breakdown or substance abuse, whatever it may be," HPOU President Douglas Griffith said.

Griffith said it appears that no one reached out in this case and since it happened while Chowdhury was off-duty, the union will not provide legal assistance.

"Obviously, something led to this situation and it’s truly sickening and sad," Griffith said.

Resources for victims of domestic or family violence

Domestic and family violence cases in the Houston area have increased at an alarming rate. Victims often suffer in silence because they feel scared, helpless or ashamed. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here are some discreet ways to reach out for help.

The Houston Area Women’s Center has a 24-hour hotline for victims of domestic violence at 713-528-2121 or 1-800-256-0551.

The HAWC safety planning website is a good resource for survivors. Click here for more information. Also, HAWC recently released a position paper to outline plans to address violence in the Houston area. Click here for more information on that.

The City of Houston has this resource page.

The Family Time Crisis Center can also be reached 24 hours a day at 281-446-2615.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Crisis Text Line: Text START to 88788.

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