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Tearful Houston police chief, mayor confirm 34-year veteran HPD officer drowns in Harvey floodwaters

HOUSTON – Choking up with tears, Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo confirmed that Sgt. Steve Perez drowned in the floodwaters caused by Hurricane Harvey.

In the predawn hours on Sunday, Perez, 60, drove two and a half hours, seeking a safe route in order to report to duty. He got caught in the floodwaters at an underpass and drowned. Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Cajun Navy recovered his body inside his vehicle on Hardy at Beltway 8.

 

Perez was a veteran with the force, having served at HPD for 34 years.

His wife said she urged him to not report to work that morning, but he was determined to help victims and said “I’ve got work to do,” before he left his home for the final time.

Acevedo, overcome with emotion, talked about searching for Perez.

“We couldn’t find him, we knew in our hearts this would be a recovery mission.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner hails Perez a “hero” who died attempting to do what he loved — protecting and serving the people of Houston.

 

 

The Houston Police Department released a statement that read, in part:

“The death of Sergeant Perez reminds us of the dangers that police officers willingly face every day in order to serve this great city. We will go through this extremely difficult and trying time with heavy sadly reminded of the ultimate sacrifice one of our own has paid. Words cannot adequately express the sense of loss the Perez family and their extended Houston police family are experiencing. Our hearts and prayers go out to Sergeant Perez’s family, his friends, neighbors and colleagues.”

Perez is survived by his wife, Cheryl, an adult son and daughter and extended family.

“Like Steve, we will not waiver and we will not stop until we meet the immediate safety and security needs of the community Steve and his HPD family love to serve,” the statement read.