Houston arson investigator killed in shootout with suspect

Houston Arson Investigator Lemuel Bruce, 44, had served with the fire department for 17 years; the arson suspect was also killed in the shootout

Duty Death: Lemuel Bruce - [Houston, Texas]

End of Service: 10/16/2020

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — An arson investigator and an arson suspect were killed during a shootout early Friday in Houston after the investigator pursued the suspect, city police and fire officials said.

Investigator Lemuel Bruce, 44, died at a hospital where he was taken following the shooting around 3:30 a.m. in northwest Houston, according to Fire Chief Samuel Peña. Bruce has been with the department for 17 years, he said, adding that this is the first time a fire investigator has been shot in the line of duty.

Both Peña and Mayor Sylvester Turner offered condolences to Bruce’s wife and two children.

“They are hurting right now, the department is hurting,” he said.

Assistant Police Chief Matt Slinkard noted that Bruce was part of a team investigating recent arsons in the area when he spotted and pursued a vehicle suspected of being connected to the blazes. One suspect had been arrested in connection with at least seven fires.

“This arson investigator was following a suspect, was waiting for the rest of his team to get into the area, put out his location over radio. By the time that team arrived, this shooting had already occurred,” Slinkard said.

The suspect was dead at the scene, but has not been identified, Slinkard added. Guns were recovered from both Bruce and the suspect, according to Slinkard.

Slinkard said as an arson investigator, Bruce was a certified peace officer, but did not wear a body camera. No witnesses have been found.

Multiple agencies are investigating the case as an officer-involved shooting.


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