That exchange of gunfire was between undercover Officer Henry Canales and a man who police say had just bought what he thought were stolen TV's from the officer. It all happened in a Walgreens parking lot at Hillcroft and Bellaire. Victor Sientes of the Houston Police Department says they don't know why the suspect pulled out a gun after the transaction.
"This suspect was possibly trying to get his money back. But you know again that's going to be determined once the investigation is completed."
Officer Canales died at the hospital. Both Police Chief Harold Hurtt and Mayor Bill White was with the family in the waiting room when they got the news. Mayor White:
"His daughter said they he loved his job everyday when he went to work and did public service."
Constable Victor Trevino says many of his officers were in shock when they heard the news.
"Some of us knew him personally. I met him a couple of times. He even mentioned to me how my wife used to be his trainer when he was a rookie with HPD cause my wife was a trainer for HPD."
The last Houston police officer to die in the line of duty was officer Timothy Abernathy who was gunned down in December after following a suspect on foot. Sientes says its not easy but officers know the risks they take when they wear the badge.
"It's a pretty tough thing for an officer whenever he leaves the house that morning and tells his family goodbye and he really doesn't know if this is going to be the last time he's going to see his family and if he's going to come home."
Officer Canales had been with the department 18 years. He leaves behind a wife, a 15-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter.
Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.