Houston, TX – Just hours before a Houston police officer was repeatedly shot while attempting to stop a four-man crime spree, anti-Trump protesters cursed and harassed police outside the nearby Democratic debate.
At least one of the protesters waved a Mexican flag outside the debate at Texas Southern University, as the group chanted “f--k the police,” video footage showed.
“Houston Police Department collaborates with ICE!” one woman yelled through a bullhorn. “Have you ever been to jail? Before you get out of jail, they check your immigration status, and if you’re not documented, they will f--king take you!”
Another protester likened Houston police to the Ku Klux Klan.
“Cops and Klan go hand-in-hand!” he declared, leading another round of chants.
Protesters also referred to officers as the “American Gestapo,” the video showed.
Earlier in the day, climate change activists suspended themselves from the Fred Hartman Bridge to protest the oil industry, the Daily Caller reported.
Shortly after the slew of protests wrapped up, a 29-year-old Houston police officer was repeatedly shot while trying to end four gunmen’s violent crime spree just miles away.
The suspects also attacked a priest and robbed him and two other citizens at gunpoint in a series of separate attacks, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters during a press conference the next day.
One gunman, 17-year-old Brandon Bell, was killed.
Police have a 17-year-old male and a 39-year-old male in custody, and a fourth suspect remains on the loose, Chief Acevedo said.
The incident began at 9:56 p.m. at the Valero gas station on Griggs Road, when four men stole a 2003 Chevy Tahoe at gunpoint, according to KTRK.
The vehicle was low on fuel, and sputtered to a stop on Tierwester minutes later, at which point the suspects took off on foot, Chief Acevedo said.
They encountered their next victim – a priest – on Meriburr Lane at approximately 10:10 p.m.
“A priest. You heard that right,” the chief told reporters, according to KTRK.
The priest said he was on his knees, praying for his life, when one of the suspects pulled the trigger twice.
“For whatever miraculous reason, the gun didn’t fire,” Chief Acevedo said.
The suspects beat him and stole his two cell phones, then took off on foot again.
They soon encountered a woman sitting in a Ford F150 pickup in her driveway, and banged on her widow with a gun, the chief said.
The suspects ordered her out of the vehicle, then robbed her of her purse and cell phone.
They also demanded the pin number to her debit card, according to Chief Acevedo.
Officers in an unmarked patrol vehicle spotted the armed suspects near a Chase Bank on Tierwester at 10:21 p.m., and at least one of them began chasing the gunmen on foot, KTRK reported.
According to police, Bell opened fire on the officer in the back yard of a home in the area of Scott Street and Tristan Street approximately five minutes later.
The wounded officer fell to the ground as a second officer arrived at the scene.
The second officer fired a single round, killing Bell.
The wounded officer was struck three times – once in the groin area and twice in the upper body, according to KPRC.
At least one of the bullets hit near a major artery.
He was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.
Doctors successfully stopped the bleeding and repaired the multiple internal injuries caused by the bullets.
"There was a struggle, there was a fight, there was a fight for the officer's weapon, he lost control of his weapon, he got shot with his own weapon by the suspect,” Chief Acevedo later confirmed, according to KTRK.
The wounded officer is the son of a 42-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, according to Chief Acevedo.
The 29-year-old, five-year veteran-of-the-force was up and walking on Friday, following a five-hour surgery, National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Vice President Joe Gamaldi tweeted.
You can watch footage of the anti-police protests in the video below: