Ft. Bend Co. deputy wounded during shootout

May 23, 2010 5:18:56 PM PDT
A Fort Bend County sheriff's deputy and an innocent woman were shot when suspected bank robbers open fire during their attempted getaway. At least one of the suspected robbers is dead in a trail of violence that started near Sugar Land and stretched toward southwest Houston.

Investigators say it started around 10am at a bank off Highway 59 and Grand Parkway in Fort Bend County. It ended a couple hours later. It was a scene that Nahum Frech saw unfold before his eyes.

"The guy in the van just opens up and shoots. Pow, pow, pow, pow," he said. "It was like a machine gun, it was like a pow pow."

What Frech saw was just part of long chase and shootout that spread across two counties. It all began at the Bank of America in the 17,000 block of Highway 99, where one of the two suspects got out of a white van and robbed the bank. After making their escape, Fort Bend County Deputy Charlie Scott soon spotted the van and tried to pull it over.

"He saw the van and tried to initiate a traffic stop. They threw open the back door and opened fire," said Chief Dep. Craig Brady with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

"I can't believe it's actually happening," said Frech. "Shooting with a cop, you can't get away with that."

Deputy Scott was hit in the wrist and grazed on the head. But in the midst of the gunfire, a woman just driving through was also hit. John Francis tried to help.

"She got shot in the side. It looked like it went out the other side of the abdomen. She was still talking. I was praying for her, telling her that Jesus is here it will be OK," said Francis.

The pursuit didn't end there. The suspects eventually made it to a dead end street near West Bellfort and Dargain, where more gunfire erupted.

"Just nothing but gunshots, and that was all they could hear, just continuous shots," said nearby resident Larry Bryant.

Finally, a deputy's return fire hit and killed one of the suspects in the white van. The other surrendered, bringing an end to a bloody afternoon.

Investigators believe the suspect who is dead may be responsible for a number of bank robberies in Houston, Harris County and possibly Fort Bend County as well. The FBI is working to get an exact number.

In the meantime, investigators now believe there is one other suspect, who drove a lookout vehicle for the bank robbery. He did not take part of the chase and shootout. They are looking for that person.

Deputy Scott, a five-year veteran with the Ft. Bend County Sheriff's Office, was struck by three bullets during the chase. He was hit twice in the wrist and grazed in the head. He's said to be in good condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital and will likely be released Sunday.

The female bystander who was struck by gunfire was with three young children and her mother.

"It looks like one round from the AK-47 penetrated the driver's door of her vehicle," said Chief Deputy Brady. "It struck her in the hip and I'm understanding, it deflected and entered into her abdomen and she is still in surgery, at least at the last report I had. We hope that she will be OK and we are praying for her."

A Memorial Hermann Hospital spokesperson said she was out of surgery and was listed in fair condition.


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