Police officer drowns in Harvey floodwaters, report says

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30 August, 2017

A 34-year veteran of the Houston Police Department drowned in his patrol vehicle while responding to deadly Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, officials said Tuesday afternoon.

The flooding was so bad that Perez' primary work location was evacuated.

Perez drowned after driving into a flooded underpass, Acevedo said. On Monday, the chain of command realized Sgt. Perez had not shown up for work. The dive team was called out, and the Cajun Navy volunteer search and rescue force was called to assist in the effort to locate Sgt. Perez. At about 10 p.m. Monday, police had narrowed the search area to the Hardy Tollway and Beltway 8 - an area where they felt there was a high sense of probability that it was the last place he would have been.

"And his response was, 'We've got work to do, '" the chief said, choking back tears. The sergeant was assigned to the department's traffic enforcement division. "We will continue. This police department is resilient, as is this community and I look forward to taking this man and giving him the honors and his family that he so richly deserves".

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Acevedo added that Perez's family asked him not to go to work that day, but he said, "We've got work to do".

"When you have faith, there's hope", Acevedo said.

Chief Acevedo says Sgt. Perez was one of the sweetest people in the department, calling him a gentle public servant. Floodwaters have breached a levee south of the city of Houston, officials said Tuesday, urging residents to leave the area immediately.

Southeast Texas was battered by strong winds and torrential rains starting on Friday, when then-Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Gulf Coast.

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