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Authorities identify the man shot by deputy, off-duty HPD commander near Popeyes restaurant in Spring

HOUSTON – An off-duty Houston Police Department Commander and a Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s deputy shot a suspect near an LA Fitness gym in Spring Wednesday, according to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Hermann.

At 5:16 p.m., Hermann wrote on Facebook that deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person at the Popeye’s restaurant near the intersection of Holzwarth Road and Cypresswood Drive.

The suspect, identified as Donnavan Hart, been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and evading arrest, according to Harris County Constable Precinct 4. He received no bond.

The suspect, identified as Donnavan Hart, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and evading arrest.
The suspect, identified as Donnavan Hart, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and evading arrest. (KPRC)

Deputies responded to a disturbance call at the Popeyes at 20035 North Freeway in Spring. The caller reported a male drinking a beer and attempting to fight the manager inside the business. When the deputies arrive Hart reportedly fled on foot armed with a knife.

Deputies said they attempted the contain the suspect but he fled through the restaurant’s exit door. Deputies chased the suspect in and out several businesses, including a Home Depot and then to an LA Fitness gym. Hermann said the suspect tried to carjack multiple people during the pursuit.

Deputies said they also attempted to tase the suspect but was unsuccessful.

An off-duty HPD commander was working out at the gym when he saw the suspect, armed with a knife, run in and “cause a disturbance,” officials said. The off-duty commander joined in the pursuit and when the suspect attacked a Precinct 4 Constable’s Deputy.

Deputies said Hart lunged at them with the knife in his hand. The commander and the deputy both shot the suspect multiple times.

Deputies said they immediately began life-saving producers until EMS arrived on the scene.

Paramedics with the Spring Fire Department and Cypress Creek EMS transported Hart to Houston Northwest Medical Center in non-critical condition, according to Tracee Evans with the Spring Fire Department.

“Our deputy did sustain an injury to his wrist. He’s pretty swollen up,” Hermann said in a press conference. The deputy was also transported to a hospital for treatment.

“You’re never really off-duty when you’re a police officer. We’re a family and a brotherhood and when an officer is being threatened our officers... their mindset is that they’re going to go to the assistance of the community and obviously the assistance of the constable,” HPD Chief Art Acevedo said.

The off-duty commander will be put on administrative leave as the incident is investigated, Acevedo said.

Many people were working out at the LA Fitness when the knife-wielding man who ran inside. Cody Vaughn was one of those people.

“This could’ve gone a horrible, horrible way,” said Vaughn. “There’s a lot of innocent people in there that were there just to be healthy, and you have a gentleman in there that’s not healthy in his mind probably.”

WATCH: Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Hermann and Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo give an update.


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