'They need prayers,' mayor, chief boast courage, strength of injured officers

HOUSTON – Police have released the identities of the two suspects involved in a shooting that left five officers injured. 

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a news conference that Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, were both killed after shooting at police while they were serving a warrant. 

According to Acevedo, the officers made entry to a house in the Gloverdale neighborhood in southeast Houston around 5 p.m. after a tip from a neighbor led to a narcotics investigation. 

VIDEO: Chief Art Acevedo gives an update on officers involved in shootout

Upon making entry, one of the officers was charged by a large pit bull, and according to Acevedo, the officer shot and killed the dog.

While the dog was attacking the first officer, Acevedo said Tuttle retrieved a gun from the back room and started firing at police, hitting one in the shoulder. 

The officer who was hit landed on a sofa in the living room, at which point Nicholas reached over him in an effort to take the officer’s gun.

Officers returned fire, killing both suspects.

Four officers were hit during the shootout, two were hit in the face, one in the shoulder and another officer suffered a knee injury. The specifics behind the fourth officer’s injuries were not released per the request of the family. Acevedo did say the officer was stable but in a fight for his life.

Of the two officers who were shot in the face, one if a 50-year-old sergeant who has been on the force for 25 years, and the other is a 54-year-old who has been on the force for over 27 years. 

The 50-year-old had injuries that did not require surgery and is expected to be released from the hospital at some point Monday, according to the chief trauma surgeon at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The trauma surgeon also said the 54-year-old’s injuries are more extensive, and while he is stable, the officer will require multiple other surgeries.

According to the surgeon, the officer with the knee injury underwent surgery and is expected to be released last this week. The officer with a gunshot wound to the shoulder was released Monday night.

Acevedo said the 54-year-old who was shot in the face is a “huge teddy bear,” and that the only “the only thing bigger than his body is his courage.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he visited the officer and he was in good spirits.

VIDEO: Mayor Turner speaks after visiting injured officers

"He has a very strong constitution," Turner said. "Even in that situation he had a smile on his face and wanted to communicate. And even when he couldn’t talk he got a pen and pad and wrote it down."

Turner also said the city is fortunate to have officers of such a quality and caliber, saying they showed strength despite the situation.

Four other officers were involved in the shooting, but were not injured. 

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