HOUSTON - It's been one hell of a week for HPD; a week that began in the worst possible way, with the death of one of their own. Officer Richard Martin was halfway through his night shift Monday when he heard a police chase coming his way. Martin was in the road laying down spike strips when police say the suspect, Jeffery Conlin, intentionally swerved and hit him. The four-year veteran and father of two died at the scene.
"He was an outstanding officer, and in just a matter of four years he was a field training officer, which is very rare," said Charles McClellan, Chief of Police.
The suspect shot himself in the head, and died Tuesday at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Hours later, another chase put two officers in the hospital Tuesday, after a suspect deliberately crashed into their patrol unit. Rescuers used the jaws of life to pry one of the officers out of the crushed car. Both officers were banged up, but no major injuries. Suspect Daniel Lee Rosales was caught, cuffed and charged with aggravated assault against a public servant.
Wednesday was a tough day for the burglary and theft division. Two sergeants were relieved of duty, after a federal investigation led to allegations of criminal activity. Sergeants Steven Gezman and Brian Jordan had each been with the department for over 20 years. Neither was arrested.
Then, another huge hit for a police force in mourning. Officer Jason Angeli was found inside his unmarked police car, dead of apparent suicide. He leaves behind a wife and two kids.
Meanwhile, family, friends and fellow officers will gather Friday afternoon at Grace Community Church to say their final goodbyes to Officer Richard Martin.
"Certainly as of late, police officers around the country have come under great criticism, have been scrutinized and trashed and criticized, but I know that's not the view of the majority of folks here in Houston," said McClellan.
We must not forget the dangers officers face every day on the job, and even in the midst of so much tragedy, they continue to protect and serve.
"Cowards and heroes both understand and feel fear, but it's what the hero is willing to do that separates himself from the coward."