Brave men and women in law enforcement pledge their lives to protect and serve others. Sometimes, they’re asked to make good on that pledge.
San Jacinto County Precinct 1 Deputy Constable Neil Adams was shot and killed during an altercation with a suspect at the PlazAmericas Mall in Houston, Texas, Wednesday, Fox News reported. The 35-year-old suspect was also wounded and later died at a hospital.
The officer had completed his police academy training in 2012. Adams was employed as the environmental officer for the county but was working a side job when the confrontation occurred.
“We lost one of our heroes,” his colleague, San Jacinto County Constable Roy Rogers, told the news outlet. “He worked hard to take care of his family and to take care of the constituents of our county.”
Investigators are unclear about the circumstances leading up to the struggle between the two. The suspect apparently took Adams’ gun during the scuffle and shot him before taking off for the mall’s food court.
Two Houston police officers caught up with the suspect, whom they thought was armed with a knife or other sharp object. They opened fire when the suspect advanced toward them.
The officers have both since been placed on administrative duty while the matter is investigated. Authorities will not release their names nor the name of the suspect at this time.
Joe Gamaldi, national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police and Houston officer, lamented the pattern of law enforcement officers facing violence. “My thoughts and prayers are w/ San Jacinto County Pct 1 as one of their own was gunned down and murdered today at Sharpstown Mall,” Gamaldi tweeted Wednesday. “The violence against officers in this country has reached critical mass and our communities are unrecognizable. Its demoralizing and heartbreaking.”
Violent attacks on police officers are becoming increasingly common as the sentiment against law enforcement continues to sour. It’s not clear if the nature of this particular crime has to do with Adams’ day job, but it’s still a grave tragedy when a cop loses his life in such a manner.