HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A Texas deputy constable talking to his partner was shot multiple times in the back — for no obvious reason.
Harris County Deputy Constable Alden Clopton and his partner, a reserve deputy, were making a traffic stop late Wednesday night, authorities said.
After the driver was free to go, the reserve deputy was talking to her partner Clopton, “who was standing and talking to her through her open passenger window,” Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said.
“She hears multiple gunshots and sees that her partner had been struck.”
The female deputy got of her car and saw the suspect across the street, Smith said. “Fearing for her safety, and that of her partner, who had already been shot, she returned fire,” he said.
It’s not clear whether the assailant was struck.
But shortly afterward, someone matching the gunman’s description showed up at a local fire station. Homicide investigators were questioning him, Smith said.
“He was not injured, but as to why he showed up at the station, homicide (investigators have) to question him to find out,” Smith said.
Despite still having four bullets lodged in his body Thursday, Clopton is expected to survive, Harris County Precinct 7 Constable May Walker said.
“He’s in critical care, but he’s doing well,” she said. “It’s going to be a long recovery, but we think he’s going to be OK.”
A family affair
Walker said she was “very emotional” after the shooting because Clopton and his three brothers all work in local law enforcement. One of the brothers works in the same precinct.
“All the Clopton brothers, they grew up in my house,” the constable said. “I’ve known them — some of them — since they were born.”
She said the wounded deputy has worked at the precinct for 11 years and was familiar with the area he was patrolling.
Ambush attacks against police
Clopton’s shooting spurred memories of another Texas deputy shot in an ambush attack.
Last year, Deputy Sheriff Darren H. Goforth — who also worked in Harris County — was shot in the back and killed while filling up his patrol car at a gas station.
Goforth appeared to have been targeted “because he wore a uniform,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.
And in 2014, New York City police officer Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed and killed while sitting in their patrol car.
The gunman in that attack, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot and killed himself shortly afterward at a subway station. Authorities discovered he had posted angry messages on social media against police and government, citing two black men killed by officers.
Walker, whose deputy was shot Wednesday, said she has no idea why someone would shoot Clopton.
“We can try and answer that question. We can speculate,” the constable said. “But we really don’t know because we don’t know what was in that suspect’s mind.”