Manhunt underway for Texas cop killer after officer struck at traffic stop, police say

Police in Texas are on the hunt Wednesday for a suspect who allegedly struck and killed an officer with his vehicle while fleeing a traffic stop Tuesday night.

The man, identified by police as 21-year-old Tavores Henderson, likely still has one handcuff attached to his wrist, authorities say. Henderson is accused of driving into 43-year-old Nassau Bay Sgt. Kaila Sullivan outside an apartment complex in the Houston area. His vehicle later was discovered abandoned and Sullivan, a 15-year veteran of the department, died at a hospital.

“She was a police officer at heart. She came to work every day, she enjoyed the job,” Chief Tim Cromie said. "Her blood ran blue. She was a police officer's police officer."

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Nassau Bay Sgt. Kaila Sullivan died Tuesday after being hit by a driver who was fleeing a traffic stop, police say.

Nassau Bay Sgt. Kaila Sullivan died Tuesday after being hit by a driver who was fleeing a traffic stop, police say. (Harris County Sheriff's Office)

Cromie says Sullivan was assisting other officers with a traffic stop Tuesday night when they discovered that Henderson was wanted on a domestic violence warrant.

Before police could make an arrest, Henderson escaped and hit Sullivan as he was speeding off, Cromie said.

Harris County Sgt. Dennis Wolfford -- whose office is now leading the search for Henderson -- said a warrant for felony murder has been issued for him.

“Turn yourself in. We will eventually catch up to you,” Wolfford said Wednesday.

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Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Sullivan's death was “another grim reminder" of how dangerous police work can be, noting that the community is still mourning the Saturday death of a Houston police officer and the September shooting death of a Harris County deputy.

According to court records viewed by the Associated Press, the misdemeanor arrest warrant Henderson was wanted on is from an alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend, whom authorities say Henderson grabbed and scratched as he tried to kidnap her Sunday.

Before that alleged incident, Henderson had been indicted on a felony charge of aggravated assault-family member for allegedly choking his ex-girlfriend and threatening her with a firearm on Nov. 16, 2018, in her car as she was at his apartment complex.

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Henderson had “yelled ‘Open the door or I’ll shoot you.’ The (ex-girlfriend) told (police) that she had previous encounters with the defendant threatening her with a gun and shooting at her,” according a probable cause affidavit of the 2018 charge.

Henderson had been free on a $50,000 bond related to the 2018 assault charge when the arrest warrant on the charge related to the alleged Sunday assault was issued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report