According HPD Chief Troy Finner, a group of out-of-towners decided to visit the Grotto Ristorante while in Houston.
UPDATE: Surveillance photos of 2 black male suspects and wanted vehicle, a silver/gray Nissan Altima with paper tags. They are wanted in this fatal shooting of an off-duty @NOPDNews officer.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 22, 2021
Please call HPD Homicide 713-308-3600 with info or give tip for reward to @CrimeStopHOU https://t.co/Xatung6LDN pic.twitter.com/jBFhsK82yC
The group was eating on the patio of the restaurant in the 4700 block of Westheimer Road when two men approached them with guns drawn, police said.
Witnesses said everybody in the group complied with the suspect's demands, but one of the suspects opened fire, hitting the off-duty officer and another victim.
#BREAKING: An off duty New Orleans police officer has died after a shooting at the Grotto restaurant near the Galleria, according to HPD. Another victim is in the hospital. Both were in town visiting. pic.twitter.com/Wc54Oma4Hf— Brooke Taylor (@ABC13Brooke) August 22, 2021
Officers said they received a call about the shooting around 5:17 p.m. The off-duty officer was pronounced dead shortly after they arrived on scene.
The other victim was in critical condition at a hospital.
Chief Finner said the officer leaves behind two kids, and asked for Houstonians to pray for his family and his fellow officers with the New Orleans Police Department.
NOPD Superintendent Sean Ferguson gave the following statement to WGNO regarding the deadly shooting:
"We have been made aware of this incident. We are certain the Houston Police Department will work diligently to find the perpetrators of this terrible crime. We are praying for the family of our fallen officer. We are also praying for the family of the second victim in this incident. I want to thank Houston Police Chief Troy Finner for his strong words of support tonight. I would also ask that you pray for the NOPD family as we begin to understand the enormous loss we have suffered. At this point, we will not be identifying the fallen officer and we ask that you respect the privacy of his family at this terrible time."
#NOPDNews has suffered a loss today. We are praying for the family of our fallen officer. We are also praying for the family of the second victim in this incident.— NOPD (@NOPDNews) August 22, 2021
I want to thank Houston Police Chief Troy Finner for his strong words of support tonight. 1/2
Surveillance video from nearby businesses showed the two men who are believed to be the suspects. One was seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. The other was wearing black pants, with a white hoodie.
They left the scene in a gray or silver Nissan Altima that had paper tags.
"Right now, I'm damn mad. It makes no sense," Finner said. "We're gonna stand together as a city. You look at the stats over the last couple of weeks, crime has been going down a little bit, and we want to continue to do that. But right now, I'm not worried about the stats. I'm worried about getting these two individuals because I don't want them to be a reflection of our city."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact HPD Homicide at 713-308-3600 or call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Officials are offering a reward of $10,000 leading to their arrests.
HPD commanders and PIO are en route to a shooting at a business at 4715 Westheimer.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 21, 2021
Prelim info is two people are shot and the suspects are being sought at this time.
Please avoid the area.#hounews pic.twitter.com/RXrfdSpvlr