Houston police officer reportedly drowns in Harvey floodwaters

Police Chief Art Acevedo joined the Houston force in November 2016

Police Chief Art Acevedo joined the Houston force in November 2016

A veteran Houston police officer drowned Sunday after he became trapped in floodwaters, officials confirmed Tuesday at an emotional news conference. Words can not adequately express the sense of loss the Perez family and their extended Houston Police family are experiencing.

Perez spent more than two hours trying to find a safe way to his station before calling his commanders and reporting that he could not get to the station, Acevedo said.

On Monday morning, Perez's supervisors noticed he did not attend roll call and, after contacting his family, launched a search, Acevedo said.

"Heavy rain, dark roadways, who knows what else he saw", Acevedo said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houstonians should celebrate Perez's life, and be proud of the work he did.

Perez, just days shy of his 61st birthday, was in his patrol vehicle driving to work downtown Sunday morning when he got trapped in high water, according to reporting from the Houston Chronicle. According to CBS Dallas Fort Worth, Perez's family had asked him to stay home on Sunday because of the unsafe weather conditions, but Sgt. Perez insisted.

Acevedo said the officer's death is hitting the department hard, especially because so many officers are stressed from working non-stop while floodwater rises. "He was trying different routes, and took a wrong turn", one high-ranking official said, according to the newspaper.

At least four people have died since Harvey first slammed into Texas as a category four hurricane on Friday. It was downgraded Saturday to a tropical storm.

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