In the early morning hours of Monday, while most of the city was asleep, the diligent Houston Police Department responded to a robbery call at an Exxon service station.
The lawmen approach the scene, and they see a suspect speed off in what turned out to be a stolen U-Haul Truck. The police follow the truck and the high speed chase is on.
The outlaw abandons the truck, carjacks a woman, pushes her out of her minivan, and continues his flight. The outlaw fires shots at the police and keeps fleeing in the darkness of the morning hours.
Houston Police Officer Richard Martin, aware of the chase and ahead of it, jumps out of his patrol car and starts placing spike strips in the road to stop the approaching vehicle. The criminal sees Officer Martin and intentionally runs him over and kills him. Then the criminal continues on a 20 mile run from the law in the city of Houston.
He is later cornered by the police in a standoff, and then shoots himself and is taken to the hospital. As he lingered in the hospital, the district attorney, Devin Anderson, prepared capital murder charges against him, but the killer died, thus avoiding the hangman.
The outlaw had a long criminal record.
Officer Richard Martin was a Houston Police Officer. He was 47 years of age. He had only been a peace officer for 4 years, and he worked at the Westside Patrol Division.
Prior to being a police officer, he had been in the private industry for 20 years. Officer Martin was also a veteran. He spent 4 years Active Duty in the United States Air Force, then 8 more years as a reservist in the United States Air Force.
But being a police officer was his ultimate goal, so in his early forties, he became a Houston police officer.
In just 4 short years, Officer Martin became a field officer. His Captain said he crammed 20 years of policing into the 4 he served with the Houston Police Department. This speaks volumes about his character as a lawman.
He was the father of two, a 22-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son; and he loved being actively involved in his children’s lives, including in his son’s baseball team.
Mr. Speaker, just last week, our Nation celebrated National Police Week, honoring the daily sacrifices of peace officers like Officer Martin.
Just across the way here, on the west side of the Capitol, last Friday, the families of those who had lost peace officers were here, surrounded by thousands and thousands of other police officers and the public to show their respect for those who are killed in the line of duty; and how quickly we are reminded, again, of their sacrifices.
Officer Martin’s life was callously and coldly robbed and stolen from us and his family, and the Houston community is now in mourning.
Our first responders are a special breed, those like Officer Richard Martin. They work selflessly to maintain and restore order in communities and neighborhoods across America. While we sleep, those that wear the badge are on patrol, protecting us from the evil ones.
For these remarkable men and women, their safety is never guaranteed. While the badge and the uniform represent safety for citizens, it is a target for the unlawful.
We do take comfort in the fact that as long as criminals walk and wander our streets, refusing to follow the law, peace officers will always be there on patrol, officers like Richard Martin.
Officer Martin was one of Houston’s finest. Friday, the city will lay to rest Officer Richard Martin. Peace officers will wear the black cloth ribbon of sacrifice across their badges as they stand in silent mourning for one of their brothers in blue.
The bagpipes will play “Amazing Grace,” and the flags will be lowered, as yet one more of our best is laid to rest for sacrificing his life for the rest of us. Peace Officers wear the badge over their heart as a symbol of their willingness to put themselves between us and the lawless.
Officer Martin was a noble citizen who represented everything that is good and right about our society. With heavy hearts, we send prayers and thoughts to his family and those of the thin blue line in the Houston Police Department.
We thank Officer Martin for giving his life for our town.
And that’s just the way it is.