HOUSTON – A Precinct 7 deputy constable remains in serious condition Tuesday night at the Memorial Red Duke Trauma Institute after being shot several weeks ago, according to hospital officials.
Deputy Alden Clopton was shot several times April 14 while on patrol that night in the Third Ward.
His family released a statement Tuesday saying, "Alden's physicians tell us this a minor bump in the road on his journey to recovery. He has suffered a very routine complication that is not uncommon for his type of injuries, and it's all just part of the healing process. He is still doing well, and we trust he will be doing even better soon."
After nearly eight hours of surgery, doctors were able to repair Clopton's wounds, Constable May Walker with Precinct 7 said in a press conference shortly after the shooting.
"It’s going to be a recovery period for him, but we are hoping everybody will just pray for him and his family, and I have faith to believe that he’s going to do well," she said.
According to Pamela Greenwood, a spokesperson for the Harris County Precinct 7 Constable's Office, Clopton parked his patrol vehicle at the Alabama Store Market on Alabama and Briley around midnight after a traffic stop. He was leaning into the vehicle through the opened passenger's side window talking to reserve deputy trainee Anne Glasco when an unknown person approached from behind and shot him, Greenwood said. Glasco got out of the car and shot back. The gunman ran off and is still on the loose.
"Fearing for her safety and that of her partner who had been shot, she returned fire," said, Kese Smith with the Houston Police Department.
A neighbor was inside her home and just a few feet from from the bullets.
“The TV was on but we heard six shots real quick and then a louder return shot,” the neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said.
Walker said Glasco felt bad that she was not able to catch the man. She was not hurt in the shooting and is doing well, Walker said.
According to Walker, the shooter fired six shots. Despite having on a bulletproof vest, four bullets hit Clopton in the back and side.
"Yes, he had his bulletproof vest, and I think that was part of what helped save his life," she said.
One shot was fired toward the ground and another bullet was found inside the patrol car, Walker said.
#BREAKING Deputy constable shot 6 times in the Third Ward. We'll have updates for you every 30 minutes on @KPRC2 TodayPosted by Anoushah Rasta on Thursday, April 14, 2016
According to Walker, Clopton was alert and speaking as he was taken to Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute and into surgery. Doctors worked to remove two bullets that lodged in his abdomen and one near his heart. While they did not remove the fourth bullet, doctors were able repair the damage.
Doctors said Clopton is still recovering in the intensive care unit as of Thursday evening. No further surgery is needed, according to doctors. They said Clopton is expected to be released in about a week.
Clopton's son, Todre, who is a police officer in Biloxi, Mississippi, thanked Precinct 7 and doctors at Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute. He said support for his father was coming from all over the world.
Shortly after the ambush, a person of interest matching the shooter's description showed up at a nearby fire station and was taken in for questioning. The person had not been arrested or charged, but authorities were not looking for anyone else in the shooting, Smith said.
"It was completely unprovoked," Greenwood said, adding that the deputy did not have time to respond.
No one else was injured.
Clopton, a field training officer, comes from a family of law enforcement officials and has been with Precinct 7 for 11 years, Lt. Holland Jones said in a press conference Thursday. His wife is a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, and they have five children.
Clopton has three brothers with law enforcement backgrounds: One brother works at Precinct 7 with Alden Clopton; another is an officer with the Houston Police Department; and a third brother is a former Harris County homicide investigator.
Residents in the area said they heard the gunshots.
"I stayed inside because I don't want to go out because it's getting dangerous and dangerous every night," nearby resident Theodore Cross said.
Another resident, Darrone Gray, said, "There's gunshots every night over here. It's that kind of neighborhood around here. It's a bad neighborhood."
"Immediately my heart dropped. I mean, you think things happen. But you are just not in a position to feel like it would be that close to you," Clopton's neighbor Shavara Lyons said. "My heart dropped and I started praying immediately. My heart is dropping. I'm praying and I'm just immediately thinking the best, that everything is going to work out and everything is going to be fine and his family is going to be taken care of at this time and just ask God to give him strength."
Houston police are investigating the motive for the attack.
Many viewers took to social media offering Clopton prayers and well wishes.