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Texas constable deputy shot dead during traffic stop

By Adam Schrader
Texas constable deputy shot dead during traffic stop
Cpl. Charles Galloway, 47, was shot dead early Sunday morning during a traffic stop in Houston before the driver then fled. Photo courtesy Harris County Precinct 5/Facebook

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A constable deputy in Texas was shot dead early Sunday morning during a traffic stop in Houston before the driver then fled, authorities said.

Cpl. Charles Galloway, 47, was attempting to make the traffic stop on Beechnut Street around 12:45 a.m. when the driver exited his white Toyota Avalon and shot Galloway's patrol car, striking him several times, Harris County Constable Ted Heap said in a press release.

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Galloway, who was a constable deputy with Harris County Precinct 5, died at the scene. The suspect fled and has not yet been arrested.

Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner said during a news conference that witnesses described the suspect as a Hispanic male, and that he used an assault-type weapon. The Houston Police Department will be handling the investigation.

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"The best thing you can do is turn yourself in peacefully," Finner said, addressing the suspect. During the press conference, Heap said "crimes are running rampant" in Harris County and called for a stop to the increase in violence.

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"What we are seeing on what appears to be a regular basis on the streets of Harris County has got to stop. It has got to stop," Heap said. "These are not assaults. These are not attacks. These are brutal, brutal murders."

Houston Police Department data shows that there were at least 407 murders in Houston from January through November 2021 -- up from at least 386 in all of 2020. It was not immediately clear how many crimes were committed against law enforcement officers in either year.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the leading elected official for the county, said she spoke with Galloway's family after the shooting and was "heartbroken" seeing the support for him by fellow law enforcement officers.

"I am just heartbroken. I just spoke with his sister. This is a tragedy that nobody should face. And I saw in there, a group of law enforcement officers that worked with this hero," she said.

"What I see is committed people dedicated to service, dedicated to sacrifice for this community's public safety, who now have to wonder even more what happens every time they go out there on the streets and leave their families behind."

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Galloway joined Precinct 5 in 2009 and served most recently as a field training officer in the agency's Toll Road Division. He is survived by his sister and a daughter.

"His role was taking a lot of these young officers who are sworn in and mentoring them, teaching them what it takes to be a safe and an efficient officer, and that's what he prided himself on. He was very much beloved by the men and women he served with," Heap said.

"While there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop, it was one of these situations where Cpl. Galloway did not have an opportunity to respond or to even defend himself from this brutal attack."

His death comes just days after a shooting in Harlem left one New York City police officer dead and a second injured after responding to a domestic disturbance.

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