HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Missouri City police officer Crystal Sepulveda was shot at least three times, including once to her jaw and cheek, when responding to a carjacking Saturday night.
Monday afternoon, Sepulveda underwent surgery to repair damage to her cheek and jaw.
Sepulveda is 28 years old and a mother to a 4-year-old boy. She is everything an officer should be, according to her Chief Michael Berezin.
"Crystal Sepulveda is an outstanding person, not just an outstanding officer, and she is an amazing officer. She is a benevolent warrior," said Missouri City Police Chief Michael Berezin. "She walked into a no-win situation with an armed carjacking suspect who was bent on harming a police officer, and by the grace of God, she did not succumb to the many gunshots she received from this guy."
Sepulveda was among the officers responding to the report of a carjacking and stolen vehicle late Saturday. She jumped the fence into a backyard after the suspect ditched the car.
Chief Berezin said Sepulveda was ambushed, and we have learned that the suspect, Jeffrey Bundrent, was 19 years old. Bundrent died from multiple gunshot wounds to his neck, torso, arms, and legs when fellow officers found him, and he fired at them. HPD is now in charge of the investigation.
"She took a bullet to her right side of the face, and it exited behind her right ear," Berezin said. "After she was struck, she did not stay down and lay there to die. She struggled back to her feet to try to complete the mission until she physically couldn't, and the other officers got there."
Sepulveda told her chief she wants to be back at work next week, and while that may be unlikely given the extent of her injuries, Berezin does not doubt she will return as soon as possible.
"These are humans willing to risk it all for something greater than themselves, and Crystal Sepulveda, Officer Sepulveda is the epitome of that," Berezin said. "She genuinely cares about the community. She is willingly risking it all every day with all of the officers that I have here, so she just genuinely cares about people."