HOUSTON - A man has been charged in the shooting deaths of a Bellaire police officer and an innocent bystander.
Harlem Howard Lewis, 21, has been charged with capital murder of a police officer and murder.
Investigators said Cpl. Jimmie Norman, 53, was chasing Lewis when they drove into the parking lot of a Maaco body shop at 5611 Bellaire Blvd. at Alder at 8:55 a.m. Monday. Witnesses said Lewis got out of his vehicle and began firing shots.
Selvin Romero said Lewis side-swiped his pickup truck. He said he followed Lewis into the driveway of the body shop.
He said he saw Norman, a 24-year-veteran of the force, approach Lewis' car in an effort to get him to surrender. But within seconds, police said the Lewis pulled a gun and opened fire on the married father of two.
"He started shooting the officer, and then he started shooting the owner of the body shop," said Romero.
The owner of the body shop, Terry Taylor, who loved ones said walked out of his shop to help the officer, was fatally shot in the head by Lewis at close range. Police said he died instantly.
Family members said Taylor was a retired army vet, a married father and a new grandfather.
Norman was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he died a short time later. He did not exchange gunfire with the suspect, HPD said.
"The saddest thing is that (Officer Norman) didn't even get an opportunity to pull his weapon and defend himself. That's how fast it all happened," said John Cannon with the Houston Police Department.
Houston police said Lewis fired at responding Bellaire police officers.
"They hear gunshots and they see the suspect standing near their fallen officer and they exchange gunfire with the suspect," Cannon said.
Lewis was wounded and ran off, but was found behind a nearby business. Investigators said a gun was recovered from the scene.
No other officers were wounded.
"He pretty much at close-bank range murdered a Bellaire police officer and murdered an innocent bystander who emerged from the shop," Cannon said.
Trust Fund for Cpl. Norman's family:
Donations can be made at Prosperity Bank
5123 Bellaire Blvd.
For the "Jimmie Norman Trust Fund"
"Jimmie had a police mind and a big heart. His heart was as big as anybody I ever worked with. He was always thinking about things that would better the department, better the city, better the working conditions of officers and the way we could serve the citizens of Bellaire," Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway said. "Words can't express what the men and women of the Bellaire Police Department are feeling today."
Norman was the first Bellaire police officer to be killed in the line of duty. He was promoted to sergeant after his death. He qualified for the promotion during a competitive process held in the fall.
Funeral arrangements made
Sgt. Jimmie Norman's family has made arrangements for the slain officer's funeral.
A visitation will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at Bellaire Central Baptist Church, 7115 Mapleridge St.
Norman's funeral will be held at Houston's First Baptist Church, 7401 Katy Freeway, at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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