HOUSTON – A Harris County deputy was injured in a shooting during a struggle with a prisoner at the campus of Ben Taub Hospital Wednesday, according to the hospital.
On Thursday, the Houston Police Department identified the inmate who police say was involved in the incident as 35-year-old Thaddeus Lewis. He has been charged with aggravated assault against a peace officer.
CHARGED: Booking photo of the suspect, Thaddeus Lewis, 35, now charged with aggravated assault against a peace officer in yesterday's shooting inside a hospital.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) July 15, 2021
More info is at https://t.co/eSQ80cQImM #hounews https://t.co/8W6fSw3Shh pic.twitter.com/o4YQUBPBnz
Houston police said Lewis was brought from jail to the clinic for a doctor’s appointment on the fifth floor of the hospital. Police said the deputy, a 36-year veteran of the department, was escorting the inmate to the bathroom when he tried to escape and then grabbed the deputy’s handgun, which caused shots to be fired during the struggle.
Police said several hospital staff members helped the deputy take down Lewis. Officials said the inmate was taken into custody shortly after the incident.
“As our deputy was struggling with this inmate, we had 4 hospital personnel who did come to assist and they actually did help get the inmate into custody, so I’d like to commend them for helping us out today,” said HCSO Chief Deputy Edison Toquica.
According to HPD, the deputy was shot in his left hand during the struggle. Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the deputy is being treated for a non-life-threatening wound and police say the deputy is in stable condition.
Police said there were no reports of injuries to the inmate, staff or patients during the shooting. A Code White was called, which is usually used during an active shooter situation and alerts visitors and staff to take shelter, according to officials with Ben Taub.
“Of course we reacted real fast and quick, everybody knew to turn the lights off. We went in a room where you have to have a code to get in,” said a hospital worker who didn’t want to be identified.
Less than 20 minutes later, the scene was contained and police said there was no longer a threat at the hospital.
Visitor Eusevio Torres said after 4 p.m. he briefly lost contact with his wife and daughter, who were inside the hospital at the time.
”I couldn’t get in, they couldn’t get out,” Torres said. “I got stuck here. There were police moving around about 15, 16 cars.”
As for the inmate accused of shooting, officials said he was already in custody for possession of a controlled substance and felon in possession of a firearm. However, after the shooting, he will likely face more charges as the investigation continues.
Officials said the Houston Police Department will lead the criminal investigation. The homicide division will process the scene and work with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office on pending charges against the inmate.
Here is the full press conference following the incident:
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.