The shooting happened on La Seine near Meadowhill in northwest Harris County.
We are told the officer has been with the Houston Police Department for two years. Her name has not been released.
All of this may have been a random burglary attempt, but -- for a burglar -- it was the wrong house to pick.
Neighbor Connie Kieschnick heard a gunshot at 12:30pm Monday. It got her attention.
"I heard somebody talking, saying something. And then I heard two shots in a row. Boom, boom," Kieschnick said. "And then I heard someone scream."
The noise came from next door in a fenced-in backyard -- the aftermath of a shooting that investigators say pitted a 26-year-old female off-duty HPD officer against a man they say was breaking into her house.
She grabbed her gun, detectives say, and walked out to confront the man.
A physical struggle ensued and he tried to get her weapon, officials said.
"Most of these struggles, everyone thinks they can go on for 15 minutes, but it was probably pretty short," said Sgt. Robert Spurgeon with HPD Homicide.
Neighbors described hearing three shots in all. The man died in the backyard.
There were also reports of a stranger walking up and down the block an hour before the shooting, but it is unknown if that was the same man.
There have been issues with home break-ins in the past, neighbors say, but nothing recently.
People felt safer knowing some neighbors work in law enforcement, but Monday's incident shows that's no guarantee.
"I just started feeling comfortable again. Now I'm back to being scared again." Kieschnick said.
There is no word on the suspect's identity. Investigators are not yet saying if he was armed.