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Gunman at large after ambushing, killing deputy following assault on pizza worker over wrong order: Officials

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(HOUSTON) — A manhunt is underway in Houston for the gunman who ambushed and killed an on-duty deputy overnight, authorities said.

The incident began just after 10 p.m. Wednesday when Harris County deputies responded to an aggravated assault at a Little Caesars pizza shop, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Lee said at a news conference.

“What happened is senseless,” Lee said early Thursday. “The suspect came into the location to pick up a pizza that he had ordered.”

“He was upset because the order was incorrect,” Lee said.

The suspect allegedly verbally assaulted the employee, “then produced a firearm and pistol-whipped the employee and then fled the location,” Lee said.

“The employee at Little Caesars was able to identify the getaway car by make and model, color and license plate,” Lee said.

A deputy spotted the suspect’s car, Lee said. The deputy then “had a phone conversation with one of the other detectives to let him know he did have the suspect vehicle in sight,” Lee said.

While on the phone, “our deputy apparently was ambushed” and shot multiple times, Lee said.

Other detectives rushed the 28-year-old deputy to the hospital where he died from his injuries, Lee said.

The slain deputy, who has not yet been identified, was a five-year veteran of the department, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

He was a “member of a very elite task force, the violent persons task force,” Lee said.

“None of us are ever prepared for such an untimely death and our members need your prayers and support,” the sheriff wrote on social media. “Our thoughts are with his family as they come to terms with this horrible news. An active investigation is underway to identify and apprehend his killer. We will not rest until we do!”

Lee said that investigators “have a good idea who the suspect is,” adding that the department expects to find him in “a timely manner.”

Lee noted the slaying comes as “everybody’s on edge” in the Houston area, with more than one million still without power in the state in the wake of Hurricane Beryl, which struck on Monday.

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