The Badge & Gun regularly publishes the detailed accounts of each of the 114 Houston police officers who died in the line of duty. Each of these accounts is written by retired HPD Homicide Lt. Nelson Zoch.
We publish one of Zoch’s stories – detailed in his book Fallen Heroes of the Bayou City – alongside a specially designed Memorial Page that includes the pictures of the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the month of the magazine’s publication.
In the September issue, through an indexing error, the B&G put fallen Officer Andrew Winzer’s picture with the Zoch article, mistakenly identifying him as Officer William Moss.
The Badge & Gun regrets this mix-up but will use this occasion to once again honor these two officers for their sacrifice and to demonstrate that this publication and the Houston Police Officers Union will never forget their sacrifice.
On Sept. 12, 1983, Moss was a member of the City of Houston Aviation Division, assigned to the evening shift at Intercontinental Airport. Responding to an accident call on JFK Boulevard, Moss’ patrol car slid off the road on the rain-slick boulevard, went over the curb and struck two trees from the driver’s side. He was dead at the scene.
Investigators concluded that while speed and wet surfaces likely contributed to this accident, the police vehicle had a bald tire on the right rear that also was a major factor, as outlined in Zoch’s published account. Further investigation by the city’s Traffic and Transportation Department found that this roadway was worn slick from heavy use and badly in need of resurfacing. They also concluded that this type of roadway in this condition was especially dangerous when the issue of a bald tire was a factor. In summary, there were a variety of factors that contributed to the tragic death of Officer Moss.
Moss was 42, a husband and the father of a daughter and three sons.
On Feb. 18, 1988, Officer Winzer drowned in his patrol car in Buffalo Bayou after he was hit by another vehicle at Louisiana and Franklin. The driver of the other vehicle was cited for driving with a suspended license and for having no proof of insurance.
According to Zoch, Houston Police Officer Jeff Shipley of the Dive Team hoped that he and other police officers could save Officer Winzer’s life. Officer Shipley heard the call and rushed to the headquarters for diving equipment, but had to get someone to unlock the door because he did not have a key. He was on the scene by 9:59 p.m.
“I could feel him. I got his badge and name plate and brought them up,” said Shipley. He also praised the patrol officers who jumped into the water in their uniforms.
The rescuers hoped that the cold water of the bayou would slow down the body functions of the officer to give them a few extra minutes to save the officer’s life. They also hoped that there was an air pocket for the officer. Unfortunately, the car was destroyed in the accident, and officer Winzer drowned.
The well-respected four-year officer was survived by his wife, a son, a brother and a nephew.
Winzer was the first HPD officer to drown in the line of duty until last year when Sgt. Steve Perez drown on his way to work in the aftermath flooding of Hurricane Harvey.
The HPD Family and the citizens of Houston will never forget Officers Andrew Winzer and William Moss.