HOUSTON -- Harris County Constable May Walker settled into the chair in her Precinct 7 office and made the appeal that's been on her mind since mid-April: Help Houston police investigators find the person who shot her deputy.
It's been more than two weeks since the night of April 13 when a man ambushed Alden Clopton, shooting the 48-year-old Precinct 7 deputy constable four times in the back and side as he was chatting with a colleague after a traffic stop.
"We need some more information so we can find this perpetrator," Walker said. "We felt that was an ambush. We want to make sure none of the law enforcement officers in Houston or anywhere else is subject to anything this bad."
The shooting sent Clopton to Memorial Hermann's Texas Trauma Institute. Though doctors initially said he would be able to leave the hospital in a week, the married father of six married remains there in "fair" condition, according to the facility's doctors. His recovery could take between six months and a year, Walker said, Friday.
"We're just trying to keep the message alive and hope he'll be out of hospital and start his recovery and know we did go out and find the suspect," she said.
The shooting, which came just months after the high-profile murder of Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth, highlighted the dangers peace officers face, said Harris County Deputies' Organization President David Cuevas, who separately urged tipsters to come forward.
"Any time there's an ambush type shooting, it always raises a concern among the rank and file as well as the public," he said, of the impact such incidents have. "We're just reiterating to our members - to be cautious while doing their job, and it brings reality to how things can change from day to day and call to call."
Crime Stoppers of Houston, a non-profit public safety organization, has doubled a reward to $10,000, for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.
The Houston Police Department, meanwhile, has been investigating the shooting, initially questioning a man whom they said matched the description of the shooter. That lead didn't pan out, however, and after watching the case fall off the public radar, Walker and her colleagues took to the airwaves Friday in support of her deputy, making a public plea for information.
"You can't solve a crime unless someone gives you some information," Walker said, urging tipsters to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS or at www.crime-stoppers.org.
Clopton, an 11-year veteran of the Harris County Precinct 7 Constable's Office, has several brothers in law enforcement. His wife and son are both peace officers as well.
The shooting comes months after the August killing of Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth, killed at a northwest Harris County gas station. In that case, authorities have charged a 30-year-old man with capital murder.
"The mindset of some of these suspects is the same - they have a negative opinion of police officers - whether you do something to them or not," Walker said. "We just need some leads so HPD will have something to work with."
She had a simple message for the shooter.
"Turn yourself in," she said. "Don't prolong it. ... Sooner or later we'll get [you], it's just a matter of time."
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