Texas officer who was shot in the face after pursuit has long road to recovery

Officer Crystal Sepulveda, 29, was struck three times – once in the face, left calf and left toe; the bullet shattered her cheek and exited through her ear

By Sarah Calams

HOUSTON — A 29-year-old officer who was shot in the face by a suspect after a weekend pursuit is keeping her spirits high while she faces a long road to recovery.

Missouri City Officer Crystal Sepulveda, who has been an officer with the department for three years, was shot multiple times after spotting a car that had been reported stolen during a carjacking. Sepulveda and other officers tried to pull the car over, but the driver led them on a pursuit, KHOU.com reported.

The suspect eventually got out of the car and led officers on a foot pursuit, leading them to the backyard of a house. That’s when the suspect opened fire and hit Sepulveda three times – once in the face, left calf and left toe.

“She went down immediately … struck in the face by a bullet,” Missouri City Police Chief Michael Berezin said. “Then she was able to struggle back to her feet.”

The bullet, Berezin said, hit Sepulveda in the face, which shattered her cheek and exited through her ear. Her injuries, according to the report, were non-life-threatening, but she has undergone reconstructive surgery for her face.

The male suspect was later shot by police after opening fire on more officers. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, KHOU reported.

“She was just trying to make the community safer and get the bad person off the street,” Clint McNear, Texas Municipal Police Association Field Service Supervisor, said. “He chose to hide and intentionally ambush her.”

Berezin said he hopes Sepulveda is able to make a full recovery and return to the department.

“She’s an amazing person and outstanding officer,” he said. “She is extremely well-rounded and she volunteers to do a lot of extra duty things.”

A fund has been started to help Sepulveda with medical expenses.

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