A Blue Alert has been issued for a handcuffed man police say broke free from officers during a traffic stop in suburban Houston Tuesday night, got behind the wheel of a car and struck a police sergeant, killing her.
Nassau Bay police Sgt. Kaila Sullivan was assisting in a traffic stop Tuesday night at an apartment complex when police discovered the driver, identified by police as 21-year-old Tavores Henderson, had an outstanding warrant for assault on a family member, Nassau Bay Police Chief Tim Cromie said.
Police were in the process of handcuffing and arresting Henderson when he escaped the officers and got into his vehicle, Cromie said.
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The man then drove off, striking Sullivan, who later died at a hospital, Cromie said. The vehicle was discovered abandoned and police believe Henderson ran away.
The search for Henderson, who police said likely still has one handcuff attached to his wrist, continued Wednesday with Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez saying Henderson is wanted for felony murder and is on the run.
On Twitter, Gonzalez warned anyone who helped Henderson avoid capture could face up to five years in prison.
Sullivan, 43, was approaching her 16-year anniversary with the Nassau Bay Police Department and had worked on the night shift, Cromie said, calling her "a consummate professional in police work."
"She was a police officer at heart. She came to work every day, she enjoyed the job," he said. "Her blood ran blue. She was a police officer's police officer."
The Harris County Sheriff's Office is leading the search for the suspect.
Gonzalez said Sullivan's death was "another grim reminder" of how dangerous police work can be, noting that the community is still mourning the Saturday death of a Houston police officer and the September shooting death of a Harris County deputy.
A Blue Alert is designed to speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state, or federal law enforcement officers.