"Unfortunately in the darkness, Sgt. Perez drove into an underpass that's about 16.5 feet, drove into the water and he died in a flood, in a drowning-type event", Acevedo said. Parez then followed protocol, which was to go to a second station in the Kingwood area in northeast Houston, the police chief added. During a roll call on Monday, his colleagues realized that Perez was missing from work. Attempts to reach him were not answered, and his wife said she hadn't seen him since 4 a.m. on Sunday, Acevedo said.
The flooding was so bad that Perez' primary work location was evacuated.
"And his response was, 'We've got work to do, '" the chief said, choking back tears.
"We made a decision to leave officers there waiting until the morning, because as much as we wanted to recover him last night, we could not put more officers at risk for what we knew in our hearts was going to be a recovery mission", the chief said.
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At about 8 a.m. Tuesday, the dive team was able to enter the water. The sergeant was assigned to the department's traffic enforcement division.
"Words can not adequately express the sense of loss the Perez family and their extended Houston Police family are experiencing". The officer's wife had urged her husband not to go to work that day because conditions were too unsafe, as did his father-in-law, Acevedo said.
Acevedo described Perez as a "sweet, public servant" and a man of faith.