Neighbors Stunned By Shootings Of Two Houston Police Officers

“It sounded like big booms of fireworks,” says a woman who was near the scene.


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People in a quiet neighborhood near U.S. 59 and Beltway 8 say they were shocked to see police swarming the area Tuesday with automatic weapons. That was after two officers were shot while investigating a home burglary. The incident happened around noon in the 8700 block of Sterlingame.

One of the officers who was shot, 49-year-old Ronny Cortez, is a 24-year veteran of the Houston Police Department and longtime resident of the neighborhood.

Houston Police Art Chief Acevedo says he's proud of Cortez, who was shot multiple times. Cortez was listed in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital as of Tuesday evening.

"Just speaks to the mental toughness, the psychological toughness and I think it speaks to his character. And think about it, a 24-year veteran of a police department that rather than not be engaged, this guy went out looking for people that he knew might do him harm.

Houston Emergency Services Director Dr. David Persse said Cortez’s condition has improved.

“He is awake and talking and is with his family,” Persse told the Associated Press.

The other injured officer, Jose Munoz, has been with the department for 10 years. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Tanzey Rogers was in the area of the shooting. She says she was delivering custom-made T-shirts to a client when she found the streets blocked by police. Rogers then called her client to see what was happening and soon heard a volley of shots.

"It sounded like big booms of fireworks,” says Rogers. “Boom boom boom boom boom. That's what it sounded like. Boom boom boom boom boom. A series of shots. Nothing that I could ever get used to."

Once police sounded the all-clear we were able to speak to one of the neighbors near the shooting scene. Mia Wheeler says she came home from work to find officers swarming the neighborhood.

"Police kept putting more and more gear on, bringing out assault rifles,” says Wheeler. “It was completely insane."

And until now, it's something that's never happened in the neighborhood. Wheeler says she usually feels safe but now she'll think twice about going out for a run after dark.

"Sad that I have to change up my routine like that just because I'm worried that someone is going to start terrorizing the neighborhood again like they did today."

As police searched for suspects, neighbors were told to stay inside and a couple of local schools were put on lockdown.

Houston Crime Stoppers and the 100 Club is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect who got away, KHOU reported.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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