Hero Down: Houston Police Officer Jason Knox Killed In On-Duty Helicopter Crash
Houston, TX – Houston Police Department (HPD) Officer Jason Knox died in the line of duty following a helicopter crash on Saturday.
The 35-year-old tactical flight officer was aboard the MD 369E helicopter in search of two bodies that were reportedly seen floating in Greens Bayou, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Officers searched the area, but did not find anything suspicious.
Shortly before 2 a.m., the helicopter experienced an undetermined problem and crashed into the clubhouse of the Biscayne Apartments in the 1700 block of Imperial Valley, KHOU reported.
The helicopter did not hit an occupied building and nobody on the ground was hurt.
Officer Jason Knox and Senior Police Officer Chase Cormier were trapped in the helicopter for over an hour as rescuers worked to cut them out of the wreckage, KPRC reported.
“There was a lot of fuel that was spilled on the scene, and as you can imagine, that fuel is very flammable,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “[The rescuers] put their lives on the line, as far as I’m concerned. They earned the medal of valor tonight when they were in that environment.”
The officers were then transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where Officer Knox succumbed to his injuries.
Officer Cormier remains in critical condition, according to KPRC.
Chief Acevedo told reporters that while police were investigating the crash scene, they heard shots fired nearby and six people were taken into custody.
The chief said that there's no reason to believe at this time that the helicopter was shot, and the incidents appear unrelated.
“We don’t have anything at this point to indicate hostile action played a role in the crash, but we’re approaching the investigation with a wide net to make sure we don’t miss anything, Chief Acevedo said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We owe it to Knox’s family and Chase's family and the community. That’s just what we do in these situations.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the fatal crash.
Officer Knox’s law enforcement career began in August of 2006, when he was hired by the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Office, KPRC reported.
Two years later, he joined the Spring Valley Police Department, where he remained until he entered the HPD Training Academy in December of 2011.
Officer Knox joined the HPD in June of 2012, and was assigned to the Midwest Patrol Division, KPRC reported.
He later served with the Public Affairs Division before he was assigned to the Air & Marine Division, where he had been since January of 2019.
“Our hearts are broken after the loss of an amazing officer,” Chief Acevedo tweeted on Saturday. “He was a great husband, father, son & friend. Above all else, he was a kind, gentle, generous, & honorable American.”
Officer Knox leaves behind his wife and two children, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He is also survived by his parents.
“Our hearts go out to his family, & all that knew & loved him,” Chief Acevedo wrote. “We pray for God’s comfort.”
Officer Knox’s father, Houston City Councilman Mike Knox, released a statement to KPRC on the family’s behalf.
“My wife, Helen, and I and Jason’s wife, Keira, are deeply grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our Houston community,” Knox wrote. “We celebrate all Jason embodied as a committed HPD officer and pilot who fully embraced his job and we celebrate Jason as he was outside of his work - a devoted husband, a loving father and our only son whom we cherished every day.”
“Where there is great love, there is great loss. We love Jason with all of our hearts, as we always have, and we will keep all that he is alive for his children,” he continued. “As believers, we know Jason is in the loving arms of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We appreciate the privacy you have given us and continue to provide as we walk this road we would never wish for anyone, but that we now accept as ours.”
Keira is a Cypress-Fairbanks Fire Department dispatcher, the agency said in a Facebook post.
Officer Knox also worked as a volunteer firefighter at the same department from 2003 until 2006.
“We ask for your thoughts & prayers for this first responder family during this difficult time,” the fire department’s post read.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Houston Police Department Officer Jason Knox, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.