Houston police officer reportedly drowns in Harvey floodwaters

Houston Police Department
Sgt. Steve Perez died Sunday going to work when he drowned in Hurricane Harvey

Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, had worked 34 years with the department, Acevedo said at a news conference.

A veteran officer with the Houston Police Department died in the line of duty after driving into high water.

"We couldn't find him", Acevedo said through tears.

Update 4:50 p.m. August 28: The Harris County Sheriff's Office said on Monday afternoon that it was not immediately able to confirm a report that a family of six was swept away by floodwaters and killed on Sunday. He was trapped on Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll Road.

Once the dive team got to the scene, it was "too treacherous to go under and look for him", Acevedo said.

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Houston police Chief Art Acevedo told The Associated Press that he had no information on the reported drowning, but he told the wire service that he is "really anxious about how many bodies we're going to find" from Harvey's devastating flooding. On Tuesday morning, a dive team was able to recover his body. Perez served on the force for 34 years and was now assigned to the traffic enforcement division. The family has yet to be notified.

During the conference, Acevedo emotionally reflected on Perez, stating, "Steve is one of the sweetest persons I've ever met".

When he did not arrive for regular roll call Monday, officers called his wife, who said she had not seen him since Sunday.

"When you have faith, there's hope", Acevedo said. Floodwaters have breached a levee south of the city of Houston, officials said Tuesday, urging residents to leave the area immediately.

Hurricane Harvey slammed into southeast Texas with 130mph winds and the tropical storm has devastated Houston and the surrounding regions.

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