HOUSTON (KTRK) --Officer Ronny Cortez was one of two Houston Police Department officers shot multiple times late Tuesday morning as law enforcement pursued burglary suspects through a southwest Houston neighborhood.
Cortez, a 24-year veteran of the department, lived with his family only a few homes down from where the burglary occurred on the 8700 block of Sterlingame. Cortez was searching the area with a second officer, 10-year veteran Officer Jose Munoz, when they were both shot multiple times by at least one armed suspect.
Cortez was transferred to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in critical condition with his wife by his side. He was shot several times in the stomach, and a bullet remains lodged near his spine.
According to Ray Hunt with the Houston Police Officers Union, Cortez was wearing a tactical bulletproof vest at the time he was shot, but the bullet is believed to have entered Cortez's body beneath the vest.
City of Houston EMS director David Persse told reporters that Cortez was awake and talking with family members at the hospital.
"He is awake and talking and is with his family," Persse said.
During Wednesday's city council meeting, Mayor Turner asked everyone to pray for all police officers as he gave an update on the injured officers.
In a press conference, HPD police chief Art Acevedo said that the department is working to make arrangements for Cortez's out-of-state family members to travel to Houston.
"I've heard that United Airlines is helping us bring a daughter from back east, and I just wanted to say thank you United Airlines for being our partners and helping us out," Acevedo said.
Cortez's daughter goes to school in Boston. Boston Police Department officers drove her to the airport in Boston, and HPD officers will pick her up when she lands in Houston.
If you would like to donate to help the officers' families, visit assisttheofficer.com.