'Those guys were desperate': Hear from the priest attacked during overnight crime spree

By Briana Zamora-Nipper - Community Associate Producer

HOUSTON - A violent crime spree in Houston's South Side Thursday night climaxed in a shootout that left a Houston police officer in serious condition, one carjacking suspect dead and a priest injured.

The 29-year-old officer, a five-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital for emergency surgery to repair a number of injuries caused by the shooting, according to authorities. 

As of Friday morning, the injured officer was out of surgery and in stable condition, officers at the hospital told KPRC 2.

The officer's identity has not yet been released.

The crime spree reportedly began around 9:55 p.m. at a Valero gas station at 5820 Scott Street when four men allegedly stole a man's SUV at gunpoint, Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The SUV was low on gas and the four men abandoned the vehicle in the 6200 block of Tierwester then fled on foot, Acevedo said.

Minutes later, the same men attacked and robbed a Catholic priest at gunpoint, Acevedo said. 

Rev. Desmond Ohankwere shared his account of Thursday night's violence. He said he was reciting the rosary and walking around in quiet contemplation when a group of men approached him. One of the men pulled a gun on him and tried to fire twice, but the gun did not discharge. 

Once the man drew the gun at his face, Ohankwere said he knew the situation was "something real."

Ohankwere said the men proceeded to beat him and stole his cellphone. During the scuffle, Ohankwere, who had nothing but his rosary, resisted the attackers and said, "Do you know you are beating a priest?" The men then restrained themselves and fled the scene.

"If I see them in person, I will identify them," Ohankwere said.

Ohankwere walked away from the attack with several injuries to his head, face and elbow.

"Wow, this is a miracle," Ohankwere said.

Around 10:26 p.m., about 10 minutes after the assault on the priest, Acevedo said police apprehended one of the men.

Another one of the men was spotted near the intersection of Triston and Scott. When officers arrived at the scene, Acevedo said gunfire was exchanged.

The 29-year-old officer was struck three times, authorities said. 

The man who fired at the officer was shot and killed during the shootout, Acevedo said.

Two other men were taken into custody in relation to the incident. Police are actively searching for another man believed to be involved in the incident.

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