Deputy shooting latest in violent trend against Houston-area law enforcement officers

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Thursday, January 28, 2021
Shooting is latest in violent trend against Houston law enforcement
It's no question that law enforcement is a dangerous calling, and trends in the Houston area show just how violent it's been in the past six months alone.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Tuesday's shooting of a Harris County sheriff's deputy was the latest in a disturbing trend of violence involving law enforcement officers from the Houston area over the past six months.

WATCH: Deputy recovering from shooting, suspect detained after 4-hour manhunt

ABC13 was there as the suspect was captured after a 4-hour manhunt. Watch the moment in the video above.

A review of records kept by ABC13 shows at least a dozen incidents, including four where law enforcement officers were killed since May 2020.

Separate incidents in 2021 included three deputies who were wounded outside a Midtown nightclub on Jan. 3, and two other law enforcement officers who were fired upon during chases.

DA looking into Midtown club where 3 deputies were shot

The new year of violence began with the shooting outside Club Set in the 2900 block of Travis Street when those uniformed Harris County deputies were working extra jobs. Investigators said 25-year-old Joseph Anthony Gonzalez confronted the deputies with a gun during a fight in the parking lot and shot all three of them. One of the deputies returned fire and hit Gonzalez, the sheriff's office said. During the confrontation, Gonzalez's mother was shot in the leg and later died at the hospital. The investigation into whose gunfire hit her was still ongoing at last check.

Armed robbery suspect shot by police after carjacking woman and child, HPD says

A Houston police officer was shot at on Jan. 11 in the southeast part of the city and returned fire, hitting the shooter. The officer wasn't hurt and the suspect was seriously injured.

Suspect shoots at Pct. 6 deputy constable up to 8 times during SE Houston chase

Two days later, a Harris County Precinct 6 deputy constable escaped injury as a chase suspect shot at him up to eight times in southeast Houston. The suspect ended up crashing into the back of a truck near the Gulf Freeway and was taken to a hospital with injuries. Authorities said at the time they believed the shooter was under the influence of drugs.

Deadly 3-week span for Houston police officers

Last year, two Houston officers were shot to death in a three-week span. Sgt. Sean Rios and Officer Harold Preston were fatally wounded during gun battles with suspects. Rios, a 25-year veteran of the department, was killed on Nov. 9. Preston was shot to death on Oct. 20 during a domestic violence call. Another officer was shot in the arm during the gunfight.

Houston fire investigator fatally shot during arson surveillance

A rash of intentionally set fires in a Heights-area neighborhood prompted Houston Fire Department arson investigators to converge on the area in October, including Lemuel "DJ" Bruce. Bruce was shot and killed while tailing a suspect. According to ABC13 sources, Bruce and five other investigators were in the Timbergrove area, but they weren't looking for a suspect in particular and none of them was expecting to make a traffic stop in the neighborhood. The suspect was found nearby dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Earlier in the year, a Harris County deputy was fired upon while working an off-duty security job in October at a west Houston apartment complex, and officers were shot at in a Montrose-area neighborhood in a separate incident. The armed suspect was shot to death in that incident.

Fort Bend Co. Pct. 4 deputy constable dies after being shot in friendly fire incident

In May, a Fort Bend County Precinct 4 deputy constable was accidentally shot to death in what authorities called a friendly fire incident during a call about a suspicious person in the Sienna area. Deputy Caleb Rule was wearing a bullet-proof vest and was shot in the chest. He later died at Memorial Hermann Hospital. Rule served the constable's office for nine months and had worked for 14 years for the Missouri City Police Department.

As he asked for prayers Tuesday for Deputy Barragan, former Houston Police Officers' Union president Joe Grimaldi pointed to the trends while using the hashtag #EnoughIsEnough.

"We continue to be shot and assaulted at alarming rates," Grimaldi tweeted.

WATCH: What led to HFD investigator's tragic death?

In the video, 13 Investigates looks into the moments that led to HFD arson investigator Lemuel "DJ" Bruce's death.

Eighty-nine law enforcement officers were killed in the line-of-duty in the United States in 2019, according to FBI statistics. More than half of those deaths were the result of felonious acts. Forty-one officers died in accidents. 2020 figures weren't yet available.