Houston police officer dies in Harvey's floodwaters

Lucy Bush
August 30, 2017

On Monday, Perez's fellow officers grew anxious when he didn't show up to roll call and called his wife, who said she hadn't seen him since he left Sunday.

"We could not put more officers at risk", Acevedo said.

Acevedo said Perez never arrived to work on Sunday and contacted his wife, who said she had not heard from him since 4 a.m. that morning.

Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, had worked 34 years with the department, Acevedo said at a news conference.

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Houston police Chief Art Acevedo earlier told The Associated Press that he had no information on the reported drowning, but he told the wire service that he is "really anxious about how many bodies we're going to find" from Harvey's devastating flooding.

On the morning of August 29, the dive team went out in the darkness and determined that "Sgt. Perez drove into an underpass drove into the water and he died in the flood in a drowning type of event", Arcevedo said. Search and rescue crews, including a dive team and a "Cajun Navy" member, recovered his body on Tuesday, Acevedo said.

"He was trying different routes, and took a wrong turn", one high-ranking official said, asking not to be identified. Perez was assigned to the city's traffic enforcement division, but he was unable to find a path to the station.

The chief added, "I had the privilege of notifying his wife and his son and extended family that he died and laid down his life".

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was "taking a look at" reports of the officer's death.

More than 17,000 people are seeking refuge at shelters as of Tuesday.

Perez's passing brings the death toll in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to 15. It was downgraded to a tropical storm Saturday, but continued to dump rain over the area.

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