Innocent victim: Woman in Bellaire home shot by HPD at end of chase; 2 suspects also hit

By Charlotte Aguilar

A woman inside a home in the 4500 block of Sunburst Street in Bellaire is reportedly in good condition this morning at Ben Taub Hospital after being shot by Houston police when a high-speed chase ended in a hail of gunfire on the dead-end street.

In an overnight briefing at the scene, HPD Chief Art Acevedo said the officers were firing at two suspects who were attempting to strike the police cars with their vehicle. The suspects had fled a traffic stop in the 10200 block of West Bellfort, along the Southwest Freeway to the city of Bellaire, with officers observing something being tossed from the vehicle along the way, believed to be drugs.

Shortly before midnight, the chief said, the fleeing black Cadillac SUV crashed on Sunburst off Newcastle Drive in the northeast part of the city.

“The suspect vehicle struck a tree, a fire hydrant, and then started backing up and struck our police cars,” Acevedo said. “The suspects not only struck the police cars once but then tried to strike them again, and while in the actual act of committing an assault with the SUV, several officers opened fire on the suspect vehicle, striking the driver and the passenger, and unfortunately…at least two bullets entered a residence back here…and one of the bullets struck a woman, and fortunately it is a non-life-threatening wound.”

(This reporter heard the gunfire, which sounded like rapidly exploding fireworks and lasted for several seconds.)

The driver and passenger in the SUV, both female, and the woman inside the home were transported by ambulance to Ben Taub, where they were reported to be in good condition with what Acevedo called “minor” gunshot wounds. No identities were available on any of the three women.

None of the officers was injured.

Bellaire police responded to the scene, but the department has agreed to let HPD take the lead in the investigation, Acevedo said, and the case is being handled by a special criminal investigations unit that probes all officer-involved shootings, as well as internal affairs, traffic and narcotics investigators.

He said the HPD will also conduct an administrative review of the case, and that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and Grand Jury will also study the circumstances.

The officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations, according to the chief.

Charges against the suspects are pending, Acevedo said, but will likely include aggravated assault on the officers with a deadly weapon — their SUV. He said the “bags” officers observed being tossed from the vehicle on the freeway during the chase are believed to be marijuana.

HPD crime scene unit investigators were expected to be processing evidence at the scene into daylight hours.

The entire briefing can be viewed here.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo briefed the media early Tuesday morning about the shooting by his officers of an innocent bystander in a Bellaire home and two suspects fleeing a traffic stop. (@HoustonPolice on Twitter)

HPD opened fire on this SUV when officers said suspects used it to try to ram their vehicles after crashing on a dead-end street in Bellaire. (ABC-13 image)

Sunburst Street in northeast Bellaire became a crime scene overnight when a police chase ended in gunfire. Three women — one innocent bystander in a nearby home and two suspects — were hit. (ABC-13 image)