Vest saves life of officer during shooting in NE Houston; suspect dead

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An officer's bullet proof vest stopped a bullet fired by a suspect in a northeast Houston shooting. The officer fired back, killing the suspect (KTRK)

Police say a bullet-proof vest saved the life of a Houston police officer during a shooting in northeast Houston that left the suspect dead. Now we've learned this isn't the first time the officer shot and killed an armed suspect this year.

The shootout happened in the 11900 block of Airline Drive after HPD officer John Calhoun and his partner responded to call about a suspicious person.

HPD Spokesman John Cannon says a 911 caller described the suspect in detail, said he was smoking pot and had a gun. When Calhoun and his partner arrived, the suspect quickly grabbed his backpack and walked away. That's when the two got into an argument and wrestled to the ground.

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland says that's when the shootout erupted.

"Officer Calhoun was immediately shot one time and then was able to return fire -- several shots -- unknown how many shots he fire, but he returned fire, several shots, striking the suspect," McClelland said. "It was later determined that Officer Calhoun then discovered that he had actually been shot himself."

Calhoun, 28, was shot in the left torso, but the bullet struck the ballistics vest. He suffered a deep bruise and was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The Houston Policer Officers' Union says he was released a few hours later.

"We're certainly grateful that officer Calhoun is going to be fine. He's certainly going to be sore, but he has no broken bones, no rib fractures, no bullet penetrations," McClelland said. "Without the vest, it would have penetrated and could have caused catastrophic injury or death."

The suspect, who's been described only as a Hispanic male, was taken to Houston Northwest Medical Center but didn't make it.

McClelland says Calhoun's partner is shaken up but is OK.

Calhoun has been with the Houston Police Department for about six years. He works out of the north division. In June, officer Calhoun was awarded officer of the month by the Houston Police Officers' Union. The award given to him after he shot and killed another armed suspect earlier this year. He was not injured in that shooting.

McClelland says Calhoun comes from a family of law enforcement. His father is a retired detectives and his mother works in the major crimes unit.

Per protocol, he'll be placed on desk duty for up to three days and the Internal Affairs department investigates. The Harris County District Attorney's Office also arrived at the scene to investigate.

No other details were immediately available. Stay with Eyewitness News for the latest details.
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