BAYTOWN, Texas (AP) — A highly regarded Texas law enforcement officer was shot and killed Monday moments after arriving for work in an attack that prompted a massive manhunt for the gunman.
The shooting of Harris County Precinct 3 Assistant Chief Deputy Clinton Greenwood did not appear to be random, according to Baytown police Lt. Steve Dorris, but a motive was not immediately clear.
“Whether or not he was specifically targeted, or whether this was because of the uniform he was wearing or the place he pulled up to in the morning, we just don’t know that right now,” Dorris said.
No arrests had been made as of Monday evening. Dorris said authorities were still “actively investigating” the shooting.
Investigators said late Monday they were looking for a suspect described as a white or Hispanic male, approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters) to 6-feet-3 inches tall, with short hair and a medium to stocky build. The man was described as possibly wearing a dark jacket with some type of patch on the sleeve and was seen in the area around the time of the shooting. Baytown police said the suspect might have fled the scene in a dark vehicle.
Greenwood, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, was shot outside a county courthouse building in Baytown, east of Houston. He suffered a single gunshot wound and was airlifted to a Houston hospital where he died.
The attack led to the lockdown of a nearby high school and a broad response by law enforcement as authorities closed intersections as part of their search for the suspect. Access to businesses in the area was limited as law enforcement helicopters searched by air and officers spread into nearby neighborhoods.
Montgomery County sheriff’s Lt. Tim Cannon told the Houston Chronicle that he had known Greenwood for decades and was struggling to understand who would harm him.
“Clint was absolutely a target, for whatever reason. We don’t know,” he said. “But he didn’t need to be a target. Clint was there to help. And whoever this person was, Clint probably would have reached out to help him as well.”
A reward of up to $65,000 has been offered for information that would lead authorities to arrest and charge someone in the case.
Greenwood received his law license in the 1980s and worked for the Harris County district attorney’s office. At one point, he oversaw the office’s civil rights division. He also once served as part of the command staff for the Harris County sheriff’s office, one of the busiest in the country.
“My heart goes out to the family and friends of Assistant Chief Deputy Greenwood and the Harris County law enforcement community in the wake of this heinous murder,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas is taking action to strengthen penalties for those brazen enough to commit crimes against law enforcement, and we will send a message that such vile acts will not be tolerated.”
The shooting of Greenwood was reminiscent of the 2013 slaying of a prosecutor as he exited his car and walked into work southeast of Dallas. Authorities say the gunman who killed Mark Hasse outside the Kaufman County courthouse later fatally shot the county’s district attorney and his wife. The deaths were retribution after Hasse and District Attorney Mike McLelland prosecuted gunman Eric Williams for the theft of county equipment, authorities have said.