Three constable deputies were shot in an ambush early Saturday morning while working an extra shift at a Houston bar, leaving one deputy dead and two others wounded, authorities in Texas said. Authorities took one person into custody but were still searching for a man believed to be the shooter, Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief James Jones told reporters, per the AP.
The Harris County constable deputies were working at the 45 North Bar and Lounge when they responded to a disturbance outside the business around 2:15am, Jones said. They were trying to arrest someone when another person with a rifle ambushed them and opened fire on the deputies from behind, Jones said, according to preliminary information from the scene.
One deputy was shot in the back and another was shot in the foot, said Mark Herman, constable of Harris County Precinct 4. The third deputy was pronounced dead at the hospital. It was unclear whether the deputies returned fire, Jones said. He said Houston police were still investigating, but authorities believe the disturbance may have been a robbery that the constables stopped.
Constables are licensed peace officers who perform various law enforcement functions, according to the Texas Association of Counties. "Probably one of the toughest days of my career," Herman said at an early Saturday presser, per Click2Houston. "I got a father in there that I had to talk to, a wife that I had to talk to, I got two deputies [in surgery]. This is going to affect them for the rest of their lives." A person of interest was taken into custody at the scene, but authorities weren't certain whether the person was a suspect or a witness. (Read more shooting stories.)