ONE police officer killed, another wounded in shootout

Wednesday, May 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ A drug suspect opened fire on police officers making a narcotics bust, killing one officer and leaving another in critical condition, authorities said.

Officers Albert Vasquez and Enrique Duharte-Tur were attempting to arrest four suspects for narcotics possession late Tuesday at a Houston apartment complex when the shooting occurred, Houston Police Department spokesman Robert Hurst said.

Vasquez, 32, a seven-year veteran of the department, died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Duharte-Tur, 35, also a seven-year veteran, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was in critical but stable condition after surgery early Wednesday at a Houston hospital.

Hurst said three suspects were in custody. Another who had been shot in the leg was hospitalized.

Clarence Bradford, Houston's police chief, said the officers were off duty and working security at the apartment complex at the time of the shooting.

Names of the suspects were not immediately released. A handgun believed used in the attack was recovered at the apartment complex, and police were interviewing witnesses.

Vasquez was the second Harris County law enforcement officer to be shot to death Tuesday. Joseph Dennis, 35, a sheriff's deputy, was fatally shot by an 18-year-old man while trying to make an arrest. The suspect in that shooting has been arrested.

Mayor Lee Brown visited Duharte-Tur and said doctors assured him the officer would recover. ``That is really a blessing. Although he couldn't talk I was very comforted when he gave us a thumbs-up,'' Brown said.

Vasquez is survived by a wife, a four-month-old son and a six-year-old son.

``I'm absolutely devastated by the loss of Officer Vasquez,'' Bradford said. ``It's really heavy on the heart.''