ATASCOCITA, Texas – A man is charged with four counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer after opened fire and injuring Precinct 4 deputy constables in a shootout Tuesday in northeast Harris County, authorities said.
Wesley Smith, 31, is charged with four counts of aggravated assault on a public servant.
According to investigators, deputies were called around 3 a.m. to a home in the 12400 block of Saratoga Woods Lane for a disturbance.
Deputy Thomas Gilliland said during a press conference Tuesday that Smith was threatening to kill himself when the initial call came through a crisis hotline.
Six deputies arrived at the home and could not initially make contact with Smith inside despite pounding on the door, Gilliland said.
After about 20 minutes, Constable Mark Herman said Smith, who was home alone, came out with a shotgun and started firing at the deputies, who were in front and behind him, Gilliland said. Four of the deputies returned fire.
"They were out trying to make contact with this individual. Then after about 20 minutes the individual out of nowhere comes out with a shot gun and starts shooting at our deputies," Herman said.
The deputies shot Smith multiple times and he had 22 entry and exit wounds, investigators said. Smith was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He is expected to survive.
"Deputy (Christopher) Gaines who was shot immediately fell and was able to return fire," Herman said. "We had an other deputy that was grazed -- we believe by one of the shot gun pellets. Buck shot. Hit him in the head. He got nine stitches at the hospital. We had another deputy, while attempting to take evasive action in the gunfight, fell into a rosebush."
Deputy Christopher Gaines, 25, who has been on the force for two years was shot multiple times in the legs and was also flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital, officials said. He was taken into surgery.
Constable Mark Herman said that while Gaines was conscious and semi-alert, several pellets were lodged in his bones.
"He's in the best hands he can be in," Herman said.
UPDATE ON OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING!!— Mark Herman, Harris County Constable Precinct 4 (@Pct4Constable) April 17, 2018
Constable Mark Herman and his staff are currently at Memorial Hermann Hospital. Our Constable Deputy is in stable condition and is expected to undergo surgery at any time.
Please keep our hero in your thoughts and prayers!! pic.twitter.com/3BXp6lHP6o
Gaines underwent eight hours of surgery Tuesday. Two sets of surgeons worked on him. He is in stable condition.
Doctors initially weren't sure what to do about the pellets that penetrated his bones, but they successfully removed them. Gaines is expected to make a full recovery, but that recovery will be long-term.
Gaines and the suspect were in neighboring hospital rooms, Herman said.
"I am very humbled and honored to work with these heroes who bravely stood together and not only protected a fallen deputy, but also put down this suspect when he engaged them in a gun battle," Herman said.
Gilliland said two other deputies were injured. Deputy Faniyi was grazed on the head by a pellet and required nine stitches. He is expected to be OK.
Another deputy received minor injuries while trying to evade the gunfire. He was released from the hospital.
Across the street, a 77-year-old woman showed KPRC2 how her walls were riddled with about seven shots from the exchange of gunfire. Fortunately, she stayed upstairs and was not harmed.
Amari Harrison lives at the home duplex across the street, which had visible bullet holes. Her home was not hit. She woke up to the shots.
"I jumped out of the bed, and I'm like what is it because it was like several shots -- I want to say eight or nine shots," said Harrison.
Maurice Williams lives down the street. His four children were scared.
"Everybody is sleeping in my room tonight," said Williams. "It never really hits you until it hits so close to home like this."
“The type of job you do here, in law enforcement, it’s one of those deals that you don’t think it could happen, but you have to, in the reality in your mind, is (think) 'it could happened.' As you can see here, it happens in a heartbeat,” Gilliland said.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office Homicide division is taking over the investigation.
Each deputy conducted a walk-through of the scene and gave a detailed account of the incident, Gilliland said.
Smith's bond was set at $500,000. The penalty range on each of the charges is five to 99 years or life.