HOUSTON – A suspect was arrested Tuesday and another man is sought as a person of interest in the shooting death of a Houston police sergeant, officials said.
Robert Soliz, 24, was arrested without incident about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in west Houston on a warrant accusing him of murder in the Monday slaying of Sgt. Sean Rios, 47, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said. Soliz was initially uncooperative with detectives questioning him, he said.
Soliz was being processed at police headquarters and had not been booked yet into the Harris County Jail, Acevedo said. It was unclear if Soliz had an attorney to speak for him.
Rios was fatally shot while driving his black KIA sedan to work on Interstate 45 in north Houston. The 25-year veteran of the Houston force staggered into the office of a small motel bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. He collapsed and died about 1:30 p.m. Monday, and a manhunt ensued.
Soliz was believed to have been involved in road-rage incidents involving firearms, Acevedo said at an afternoon news conference.
Shortly before the Rios shooting was reported, police received 911 calls of gunshots being exchanged between a white pickup truck and a blue Mercedes matching the description of one belonging to Soliz. “And so we believe there’s a high probability that Sgt. Rios saw that incident between those two vehicles and, sadly, ended up losing his life in trying to intervene,” Acevedo said.
Another Hispanic man with a bearded chin, a mustache and a black pickup truck, was shown in surveillance video with Soliz and is sought for questioning in the Monday slaying, Acevedo said.
Before showing the surveillance video of Soliz and the other man to reporters, Acevedo said, “The (surveillance) video we're going to show this community is clear. The person, when they see themselves, will know who they are, but they're going to know that other people will know who this person is. We need this person in custody.”
Rios was the second Houston police officer to be killed in the past three weeks and the fourth since December. Police Sgt. Harold Preston was shot and killed on Oct. 20 while responding to a domestic violence situation. The 41-year veteran of the department was preparing to retire this year.