A Houston police officer reportedly drowned in his patrol auto after floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey trapped him in his vehicle. During a press conference on Tuesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Perez left his home in heavy rain around 4:30 a.m., and drove about two-and-a-half hours trying to find a way to get to headquarters.
On the morning of August 29, the dive team went out in the darkness and determined that "Sgt. Perez drove into an underpass drove into the water and he died in the flood in a drowning type of event", Arcevedo said.
"This is an individual who was with HPD, Houston's finest, men and women in blue, for 34 years", Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters.
Search and rescue crews were working to recover the officer's body Tuesday morning, according to the report.
In a statement released on Twitter, the police force said: "Sergeant Perez was bravely serving the City of Houston in the face of this unprecedented weather-related disaster".
The Houston Chronicle first reported Perez's death, but officials would not immediately confirm it. "Sgt. Perez lost his life because he tried to make it happen, he tried to get at his post ..."
Acevedo added that Perez's family asked him not to go to work that day, but he said, "We've got work to do". We will go through this extremely hard and trying time with heavy hearts sadly reminded of the ultimate sacrifice one of our own paid. We responded to Hardy tollway and Beltway 8, where it was the last place he had been; we called for our dive team.
Perez's passing brings the death toll in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to 15. Rain is expected to continue throughout southeast Texas.