Spring, TX – An off-duty Houston police commander and an on-duty Harris County Constable (HCC) deputy shot a knife-wielding suspect multiple times following a frantic foot chase through a heavily-populated area (video below).
The incident began near a Popeyes restaurant near Cypresswood and Holzwarth Road at approximately 5 p.m. on Wednesday, after the HCC received a report of a suspicious person, KTRK reported.
When deputies arrived at the scene, the suspect ran away from them and unsuccessfully tried to carjack several nearby motorists, HCC Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said.
Bodycam footage showed the suspect as he ran out into traffic and stabbed at vehicles.
“[Deputies] chased him from the Popeyes to the Home Depot all around the area,” Constable Herman told KTRK. “They tried to [Taser] him several times and were unsuccessful.”
He evaded eight different deputies during the chase, KHOU reported.
At one point, the fleeing suspect ran through an LA Fitness center, were an off-duty Houston police commander and his wife, a Houston police sergeant, were working out, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo later told KTRK.
“When [the suspect] ran through the LA Fitness, he was wielding the knife erratically and was running towards anybody that was close enough to him,” witness Cody Vaughn told KTRK. “His eyes – you could tell he was a very angry person. He was ready to hurt somebody.”
Vaughn said that an employee at the fitness center’s front desk yelled out a warning when he spotted the crazed attacker.
“There’s a guy with a knife! Run!” he screamed, according to Vaughn.
Bodycam footage showed the deputy as he confronted the suspect inside the gym.
The suspect refused to comply with the deputy’s commands, and kept the blade firmly gripped in his hand, the video showed.
“Let’s go! Let’s go!” he repeatedly taunted.
“Do not make me shoot you!” the deputy yelled.
The suspect ultimately ran out of the gym and was confronted by officers outside.
Vaughn took out his cell phone and began recording as the knife-wielding attacker charged towards the deputy with the blade raised.
The off-duty commander and a responding HCC deputy opened fire on the suspect, hitting him multiple times, KTRK reported.
“The bullets went into this guy, and he was still coming,” Constable Herman said during a press conference.
A second video showed that the suspect was within feet of the deputy when he was shot.
“He made it all the way to the deputy,” Constable Herman said. “Once they made contact, the deputy fell back.”
The wounded suspect was rushed to a local hospital and is expected to survive his wounds, Chief Acevedo told KTRK.
He has been identified as 26-year-old Donnavan Hart, KHOU reported.
Hart was hit seven times during the incident.
He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and evading arrest.
Constable Herman said that the deputy involved in the altercation suffered a wrist injury, according to KTRK.
“This was a very, very dangerous situation not only for the deputies, but for the citizens,” the constable noted during a press conference.
Chief Acevedo praised the commander for jumping in to help his fellow officer in need.
“You’re never really off-duty when you’re a police officer. We’re a family and a brotherhood,” the chief told KTRK. “When one officer is being threatened, [our officers’] mindset is that they’re going to go to the assistance of the community.”
Constable Herman said that Hart is a “career criminal” with an arrest history including burglary, resisting arrest, evading arrest, assault bodily injury, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, KHOU reported.
You can watch bodycam and cell phone footage of the encounter with the knife-wielding suspect in the videos below: