Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez saw the flooding taking over his city — and so did his wife.
Despite her begging him not to go, around 4 a.m. on Sunday, he headed out the door to go to work for his city, according to CNN.
Perez drove for two and a half hours through the torrential flooding to get to his department before calling to say he “could not find a path.” He decided to head to a different station.
Sadly, he never made it.
His family was contacted when Sgt. Perez never showed up for roll call. A search began to locate the missing officer; a dive team was called in to comb through the high water.
The rescue effort eventually had to be stopped because it was too dangerous.Screenshot/Twitter/Houston Police Department
As ABC News reports, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo fought through tears as he said:
“We couldn’t find him. We could not put more officers at risk.”
The sergeant’s body was found “within 20 minutes” once the search resumed:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the tragic in the line of duty death of Sergeant Steve Perez. pic.twitter.com/cHJxjnFgII
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) August 29, 2017
Chief Acevedo said Perez’s wife and father-in-law had both pleaded with him not go to work because of the flooding:
“And his response was, ‘We’ve got work to do.'”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner praised the man who lost his life fulfilling his duty, as well as his fellow officers, for putting other lives ahead of their own. According to CNN, he said, in part:
“Every single day we ask our men and women in blue to show up, to come to work when conditions are good and even when conditions are very challenging. And every day, we ask them to get on our roads and to come to work and to strive to make this city a much better place in which to live. […]
Today, I will simply say that our hearts are saddened. We grieve with this family. We extend to them our prayers from the entire Houston community, and, quite frankly, even beyond. He was seeking to serve this city and all those who would come in to our city.”
The 60-year-old man was a 34-year veteran with the department. He is survived by his wife and two adult children.
While they suffer through the loss of one of their own, Houston police officers continue to work nonstop for the residents of their city.
Donations to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey can be made to various organizations.