On September 12, officer Taylor Roccaforte was working the Democratic presidential debate at Texas Southern University. While working the event a crime spree was taking place just up the street from the debate with four suspects who had carjacked a Chevy Tahoe.
The vehicle was found abandoned at which time Roccaforte and several other officers began to look for the suspects as other calls began to come in on the same suspects robbing others in the area, including a pastor leaving his church.
Officers located the suspect and a foot pursuit began with two of them. Officer Roccaforte observed one of the suspects and gave chase. During a foot pursuit, Roccaforte tracked down one of these suspects behind a residence where he attempted to take him into custody.
When transitioning to get his cuffs and put away his weapon, the officer was jumped by the suspect. In the ensuing struggle for his life, Officer Roccaforte was able to get at least one shot off, hitting the suspect before he himself was shot three times. The first round was point blank in his chest, the second into his side, and the third missed his vest and hit him in the abdomen.
Another officer heard the shots and quickly ran to assist Officer Roccaforte, who was calling for assistance. Officer Vince Zaunbrecher was helping Roccaforte when the suspect quickly appeared with gun in hand. Officer Zaunbrecher shielded Officer Roccaforte and fired, hitting the suspect one time, stopping the threat on both officers.
Backup units quickly arrived at which point Officer J. Guerra got his medical kit and began to run to the scene, which possibly saved this brave officer’s life. A SWAT doctor who was with the SWAT officers on the debate premises also made it to the scene very quickly and started to work on Roccaforte.
Officers flagged down an HFD ambulance that quickly loaded Taylor and got him to Hermann Hospital in a matter of minutes.
Everything fell into place just right that night allowing Officer Roccaforte the best chance for a full recovery. Officer Roccaforte is out of the hospital and at home recovering. Doctors say it is a miracle how quickly he is healing and the progress that he has made.
At the October general membership meeting HPOU presented special Patrol Officers of the Month honors to Officer Roccaforte, Officer J. Guerra and Officer Zaunbrecher.