Man Arrested for Alleged Murder of Houston Police Sergeant Sean Rios
HOUSTON, Texas — The man accused of killing a Houston police sergeant is now in custody and a person of interest remains on the run.
Robert Soliz, 24, was arrested Tuesday 24 hours after the shooting death of Sgt. Sean Rios. He was arrested during a traffic stop on the Katy Freeway around 3:15 p.m.
During a news briefing, HPD Chief Art Acevedo released a new surveillance video showing the person of interest.
“The video is clear. They know who they are,” said Acevedo. “We need this person in custody.”
The video, which was shown twice during the briefing, shows a man wearing a dark-colored T-shirt engaged in a conversation with Soliz. The two were seen standing next to a black pickup truck. The video later shows the truck driving off.
“We need this person to come forward,” said Acevedo. “He’s of great interest to us, and we’ve got to find that individual.”
According to court records obtained by Eyewitness News, Soliz, who was placed in the handcuffs once belonging to Rios, was out on bond for unlawfully carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle on Feb. 15 when he was arrested.
He was given a $100 bail for that charge. In 2017, Soliz was accused of threatening his girlfriend at the time with murder.
Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for Soliz’s attorney, Paul Looney, released a statement saying more details on the case will be announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
“[Looney] will address the issues in this case that are not what they seem,” read the statement.
Rios was killed Monday afternoon in the 7900 block of the North Freeway after police say he engaged Soliz in a gun battle. After being shot, Rios ran into the Taj Inn & Suites motel looking for help and collapsed. He was declared dead at the scene.
Acevedo said Rios was headed to the airport for his 2 p.m. shift when he was involved in the shootout. Authorities and witnesses say the officer, who was wearing plain clothes, was shot multiple times.
Houston police pay a respectful salute to the life of Sgt. Sean Rios, who died in what Chief Art Acevedo called a “gun battle” with a suspect. The video offers a look at the solemn moment his brothers and sisters in HPD paid to the fallen sergeant.
A witness at the scene who heard the gunshots told ABC13 he saw the officer running toward the motel searching for help.
“He was just bleeding everywhere, all over, and just not running right. He entered the office at the motel and he collapsed right in there,” the witness said.
A witness at the scene of the HPD officer shot describes how he saw the officer run into a building asking for help after he was shot.
Acevedo said a memorial for Rios will likely be held on Monday. He said more information will be released on Tuesday.
“It’s been a very tough year at this department,” said Acevedo. “It’s been a tough year for this city.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Sylvester Turner urged the public to help police by submitting any tips.
“Any information you may have, we certainly would appreciate it,” said Turner. “You’re a key participant. If you see something, say something.”
Rios’ death was the seventh murder to have taken place in the city of Houston on Monday. It is also the second Houston police officer killed in three weeks, and the fourth Houston police officer killed in 12 months.
On Oct. 20, Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence situation. The 41-year veteran of the department, who was preparing to retire this year, was laid to rest on Oct. 30.
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