HPD says off-duty officer involved in fatal shooting

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HOUSTON - A shooting at an Exxon gas station near the North Freeway turned deadly and the Houston Police say the shooter was an off-duty officer.

Few details have been made available surrounding the Monday night shooting, but one eye witnesses at the scene talked to our crew about what he saw happen. He says that he saw a carjacking in process and tried to help but an off-duty officer thought he was a suspect. He obeyed the officers commands and says he heard the officer fire several shots at the victim.

HPD issued the following release in regards to the shooting:

Investigation into Incident at 3 Greens Road

Houston police are investigating an incident in which an off-duty HPD officer discharged his duty weapon at a robbery suspect at 3 Greens Road about 5:50 p.m. on Monday (April 13).

The male suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.  His identity is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

Officer D. Sudderth, who discharged his duty weapon, was not injured in the incident.  Officer Sudderth was sworn in as an officer in December 2003 and is assigned to the North Patrol Division.

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant J. Robles and Officers I. Ulloa and E. Wohlgemuth reported:

The suspect was seen by witnesses near the Exxon gas station at the above address acting erratically and talking to himself.  A male customer arrived at the location to get gas.  The suspect then entered the male's vehicle and attempted to steal either the male's vehicle or the possessions inside the vehicle.  The male confronted the suspect, who then attacked him with a large rock.  As the male went inside the store to call police, the suspect entered a pickup truck and attempted to steal it.

The male and two bystanders then confronted the suspect and attempted to get him out of the pickup.  The suspect then assaulted the male with a wrench.  The bystanders armed themselves with motorcycle helmets and a hammer and continued to confront the suspect.

Officer Sudderth, in full uniform and working an approved extra job, was driving through the parking lot of a nearby business and saw the bystanders armed with helmets and a hammer striking someone inside the vehicle.   Officer Sudderth approached the scene, exited his vehicle and attempted to take police action to stop the assault.  He was then informed the suspect inside the pickup had assaulted the male and was trying to steal the vehicle.

As Officer Sudderth approached the pickup with tinted windows, he saw the suspect quickly moving around and ignoring the officer's verbal commands.  The officer looked inside the pickup and saw the suspect aiming what appeared to be a shotgun in his direction.  Fearing for his life,  Officer Sudderth discharged his duty weapon while trying to protect himself and the bystanders from being shot.  The suspect was struck and died at the scene.

Further investigation determined the object the suspect was holding was a welding gun.

As is customary in HPD officer-involved shooting incidents in the city limits, this case is being investigated by the HPD Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions, as well as the Harris County District Attorney's Office.