HOUSTON — Local investigators are searching for a violent suspect accused of attempting to carjack a TV news van and assaulting an officer early Monday in the Downtown area, according to the Houston Police Department.
A reporter and cameraman with KPRC2 news were on Chartres Street near Texas Avenue about 5 a.m. when a silver Chevy Malibu crashed into the side of their van. The driver reportedly jumped out of the car and pulled the cameraman out of the driver’s seat of the van.
The attempted carjacking was soon thwarted when officers driving a prison transport vehicle happened to pass by.
“[The officers] thought they were rolling up on an accident, and got out to assist the people involved,” HPD Lt. Larry Crowson said. “As they did that, the man ran from the live truck and started to assault the officers.”
During the confrontation, police said a female officer was injured. The suspect then reportedly got into the police unit and drove off.
During his escape, investigators said the suspect released the prison from the police cruiser about two blocks away. The prisoner, who has been identified as a 16-year-old boy, was quickly taken back into custody.
“Unfortunately, that car— because it’s not a regular patrol car, it’s used as a transport vehicle— doesn’t have the same type of tracking capabilities that patrol vehicles do.”
Police eventually found the patrol unit abandon behind some bushes on Produce Row and Old Spanish Trail.
The news outlet has identified the reporter as Sophia Ojeda.
Investigators confirmed the cameraman, Ojeda and the injured police officer were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
The extent of the victim’s injuries was not released.
Anyone with information about the case should call Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS (8477).