Editor’s Note: This is a copy of a letter sent to Police Chief Art Acevedo from a Houston paramedic.
My name is Christopher Chavez and I am a district chief in the Houston Fire Department currently stationed at Fire Station 26.
On the evening of January 28, 2019, 1700:23 hours, I was dispatched to a report of an officer down at 7815 Harding St. As luck would have it, I was the first HFD unit on scene. My job is take control of the scene and to coordinate the evacuation of the wounded. Therefore, upon arrival I pulled up in front of the scene, dismounted my vehicle and hurried to where I saw two officers laying on the ground.
The scene was still very active upon my arrival with the raid team concentrating on protecting their fellow officers from further violence. However, this is not the most amazing thing that I saw. While I was assessing the scene and beginning to get resources in place, one of the officers providing cover turned to me to tell me that they think that there is still another suspect inside and that the scene was not secure.
The extraordinary part of this quick conversation is that when the officer turned to me I noticed that he had a bullet wound to the face and that he was weak-kneed from the shock of the incident or from blood loss. This officer could very easily have excused himself from further action due to his injuries and received immediate medical attention.
Amazingly, the officer did not request medical attention and returned to his responsibility covering his designated part of the building to ensure the safety of the downed police officers and now to cover the arriving firefighters that were beginning to engage in triage and treatment of the wounded.
It is a fact, that one of my paramedics turned to the officer wounded in the face to inquire about his condition. In reply, his voice was shaky, but his answer was resolute, “I’m ok, save ‘G’!”
To my knowledge, this officer wounded in the face was not evacuated until his fellow officers who were more critically wounded were evacuated first. In my book, his actions were an extreme act of self-sacrifice and extreme bravery. I know that this was not the only act of bravery committed at that scene, but it is the one that I witnessed.
I do want you to know that all the officers who remained on point to cover the scene acted bravely and responsibly. They did not retreat until ordered to do so and even that seemed like a lifetime because of all the uncertainty and chaos of the shooting.
Moreover, only after your raid team was ordered to stand down were we able to assess the rest of them and make sure that they were not wounded as well. The stress on their collective faces was palpable and it was easy to see that they had just gone through one of the most traumatic events of their lives.
While I do not know the name of the officer who was wounded in the face, I am sure that the department knows who he is by his injuries.
Per my request, please make sure that this officer is recognized and his act of valor documented. Incidentally, many people fold under pressure at times of extreme stress; this officer did not. As requested, please recognize him. To not do so would be an injustice.
If you have any questions you are free to contact me on my personal cell phone 281-782-0694 or to come by Station 26 when the C-shift is working. My hope is that all your officers recover and resume their duties.
Houston Fire Department