Police in Houston were searching Saturday night for two suspects who allegedly shot and killed an off-duty New Orleans police officer and wounded a second person in a brazen restaurant patio shooting.
The suspects around 5 p.m. allegedly demanded that diners at Italian restaurant Grotto Ristorante in the trendy Galleria shopping center surrender their belongings at gunpoint, FOX 26 in Houston reported.
Even though the diners reportedly gave the suspects their money, one of the suspects allegedly started firing, hitting the victims.
The off-duty officer was pronounced dead and the second victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition, KHOU-TV of Houston reported.
“It makes no sense,” Houston police Chief Troy Finner said at a news conference, KHOU reported. “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 status … [I’m] worrying about getting these two individuals because I don’t want them to be a reflection of our city.”
Houston police tweeted grainy photos of the suspects who they described as Black men wearing black and gray or white hoodies and driving away in a silver Nissan Altima with paper plates.
“We’re better than this,” Finner said emphatically. “And I’m not going to let by as the chief, and everyone that’s standing with me right now, and let a few little thugs tear down our city.”
The victims have not been identified. Finner said the off-duty officer was a father of two and a “well respected” member of the New Orleans Police Department, according to FOX 26.
The NOPD “has suffered a loss today,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a statement tweeted by the department. “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.”