No one would fault a police officer for backing off from a routine traffic stop if a passenger shot them at point-blank range in the process. But over the weekend, 40-year-old Texas police officer Ann Carrizales didn't just stay on the job after the the passenger of a Nissan Altima fired two bullets at her, including one at her face, causing her to gush blood. In fact, Carrizales managed to find a way to get back in her car and chase the assailants for more than 20 miles.
Carrizales was also able to maintain contact with the dispatcher of the Stafford Police Department, located just outside Houston, and along with the help from surrounding police departments, the Altima was stopped. The shooter, 21-year old Sergio Francisco Rodriguez, was apprehended and has been charged with aggravated assault of a police officer.
The other two assailants were able to escape on foot after the car was stopped. One is presumed to be 28-year old Fredy Henriquez, an illegal immigrant from Honduras who's also said to be a member of the Sureno 13 Gang, a prison gang affiliated with the Mexican Mafia, according to the local ABC outlet. The third passenger has yet to be identified, according to reports.
Carrizales, for her part, has already been released from a local hospital and is said to be recovering at home with her husband and two children. Police officials are saying her bullet-proof vest helped save her life. But just as much credit must be given her to her grit. And she says her resolve was grounded in her role as a mother.
"I had to stay in that fight because I am a mom and they shot me and they were absolutely not going to get away with that, because I will do everything I can to come home to my children every day," she told NBC's "Today Show".
And if anyone was going to be able to pull off such an amazing feat, it may have been Carrizales. In the past, she's been named Stafford's police officer of the year, according to Opposing Views. She's also an amateur boxer as well as a former Marine.
In speaking to the "Today Show," she said she sensed something was amiss when she approached the Nissan after 3 am in Stafford early Saturday morning. Seconds after she approached the car shots were being fired at her from the passenger seat. She proceeded to rally and return to her car to get behind the wheel in a bid to try and flag down the Nissan as it took off.
She also updated the Stafford police of what was happening to her through the dispatch. And as the ordeal continued for another 20 miles, Carrizales's demeanor was consistent, Stafford lieutenant Dustin Claborn told local outlet KHOU. "She was calm," he said.