HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- They were two police officers whose driving force was to protect their city and the people they served.
That is how HPD Officers Jason Knox and Chase Cormier are being described, as the department mourns the loss of one, and prays for the recovery of the other.
They were officers in HPD's Aviation Division, and were called out for air support on a ground search after midnight Saturday.
The helicopter spiraled out of control and crashed into the office portion of an apartment complex near the N. Beltway.
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No one on the ground was hurt, but Knox, who was the flight officer later died of his injuries. Pilot Cormier was critically injured. Both men were flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where Cormier underwent surgery and remains in ICU.
Both men were 35 years old, and both were the sons of former HPD officers.
Knox leaves behind his wife and two young children.
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Cormier is also married, and is an Army veteran, who was brought back onto active duty shortly after he joined HPD.
Knox is remembered for his hobby that became a passion, restoring scrapped HPD patrol cars from a few decades ago. He used it as a bridge to connect with people, another side of community policing.
Cormier's wife asked on social media for prayers, not only for her husband's recovery, but also for the Knox family.
Statements from HPD officers in tribute to Knox and Cormier were released by the HPOU:
"Approachable. Great with his hands even better with his heart. Jason was always easy to talk to. When any of the officer had an event, Jason would call us, anticipating how he could help fellow officers in need. Jason was unbelievable when it came to the small details of the vehicle. This gift allowed for the community to interact with the human side of the officer. The vintage police car means innocence, protection, and reverence. I know that Jason took pride in the cars as it brought a bit of his childhood to others. His father is a retired officer, and that childhood memory was so important to Jason to share. He was so excited about his family getting to see the outreach and sharing those special moments with others. Jason's tireless restorations gave light to this idea that bridged the gap to the community. It gave people a flashback and something to talk about with a uniformed officer. He wanted this to open hearts, minds, and encourage dialogue. He worked with his hands on these vehicles, but his heart is what gave them life again. It was always about the community with Jason, taking the vehicles to schools, talking to children, gaining respect. Jason was in the process of a third vehicle and now we have an incredibly young heart with a great mind that has left a devastating hole"
"Chase is definitely in the top percent of police officers. He's a squared away guy who you'd pick to have your back in any situation. He's a cop's, cop and takes the job of protecting the city to heart. He loves sharing the world with his wife, and the travels that came with exploring. I had the privilege to fly with Chase last October, it was a wonderful experience. Chase is such a sharp friend and family man, and has such a deep love for flying. It sounds like he was able to avoid hitting any occupied structure and that saved lives. To think of others in that moment is genuinely amazing. Chase Cormier and Jason Knox are selfless heroes".
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Police Union mourns HPD officer killed in helicopter crash