Arson/Investigation, LODD, News

Houston Arson Investigator Killed

This photo provided by The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association shows Lemuel Bruce, a Houston Fire Dept. arson investigator. Houston police and fire officials say Bruce and an arson suspect were killed during a shootout early Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Houston after the investigator pursued the suspect. Fire Chief Samuel Peña says investigator Bruce died at a hospital where the 44-year-old was taken following the shooting around 3:30 a.m. in northwest Houston. (The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Investigator killed while serving a warrant

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 had 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,” Pena 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.

Police investigate the scene of a shooting Friday, October 16, 2020 in Houston. Houston police and fire officials say an arson investigator and an arson suspect were killed during a shootout early Friday, after the investigator pursued the suspect. Fire Chief Samuel Pena says investigator Lemuel Bruce died at a hospital where the 44-year-old was taken following the shooting around 3:30 a.m. in northwest Houston. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP)

As an arson investigator, Slinkard said 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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