HARRIS COUNTY (KTRK) --A deputy in 'fear for his life' opened fire at a suspect Sunday afternoon in north Harris County.
The chaos closed down the intersection at North Freeway and Spring Cypress. Cherletrice Austin was driving by with her husband when she saw the scene.
"I saw it and knew it was something way worse than a car accident," Austin said.
Eyewitnesses driving by couldn't believe what was unfolding before their eyes.
"We were looking at the car and thought that's a weird airbag and it was the cop across the car on the driver's side," Sena Bethke said.
According to deputies, the 15-year veteran pulled a car over and talked with the driver, asking him to get out. Dep. Thomas Gilliland says the driver fought the deputy and the deputy became pinned between the car and the door.
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Gilliland says the deputy first used his taser.
"There was some confusion as to whether the deputy was under the car or inside the vehicle. As we know right now he was inside the car fighting with the suspect," Gilliland said.
Gilliland says the car went over the median, the deputy lost balance and fell out of the car.
"At that point fearing for his life, he was afraid he was going to be ran over by that vehicle," Gilliland said. "That's when he shot the suspect."
Investigators say they've run the background on the 29-year-old driver and couldn't find any outstanding warrants or background that might explain his reaction. For those who saw it firsthand, the driver's reaction seemed senseless to them.
"Why cause yourself more trouble. Just stop, get it over with," Austin said. "Whatever it is you might as well go ahead and face it. Now you're gonna be dead."
Bethke says what happened was severe over a stop.
"A traffic stop, this is pretty severe over a traffic stop," she said.
Lifeflight was called to the scene and transported the suspect to Memorial Hermann Medical Center. He is listed in critical condition. The deputy was taken to Memorial Hermann in The Woodlands.
"Our job and what deputies do, is very, very dangerous," Gilliland added.