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Madam Chair, two nights ago we lost a hero veteran police officer in our city of Houston. The Houston Police Department Senior Officer Henry Canales was killed in the line of duty. He was an undercover police officer doing the very dangerous work of holding criminals accountable to the law. It is because of brave men like Officer Canales that the rest of America can sleep safely tonight and every night.
Undercover officers face their own unique set of dangers. Assuming the identity of the criminal, they mix with the worst elements of evil in our society. They seek out these outlaws, become a part of their world, and they bring them to justice. Their bravery, their nerve is unequaled anywhere in our country. They live to serve and protect our freedom and our homes.
Two nights ago, about this time at night, Officer Canales and other undercover Houston police officers met with four people in the parking lot of a drugstore. These four thieves were buying stolen TVs in a sting operation by the Houston Police Department. Things started going downhill in this operation right after the money changed hands.
After the transaction, Officer Canales, working undercover, walked around to the front of a truck, and the suspect followed and drew a weapon. Gunfire rang out in the silent night air, and Officer Canales was shot.
A second undercover police officer, Officer R. Lopez, went to help his fellow downed officer. Lopez was attempting to subdue and handcuff the shooter when the suspect fired at least two more times. Lopez returned the fire. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, and Officer Lopez was not injured.
By the way, Madam Chair, the shooter and two other of the bandits were illegally in the United States at the time of this crime.
Officer Canales served at the Houston Police Department for 16 years, spending the last 7 of them in the Auto Theft and Burglary Division, the same division he was working two nights ago when he was killed. He had also worked in northeast patrol.
Officer Canales had also built and raced hot rods together with his family. He was active in drag racing and raced with an organization called Beat the Heat, which combats street racing. He lived in the nearby community of Baytown, Texas, with his family.
Chief of Police Harold Hurtt said Canales ``was not only an outstanding officer but an outstanding individual.'' He cared a great deal about his family, the people he worked with and, of course, the City of Houston that he served.
Madam Chair, I spent 30 years at the courthouse in Houston, Texas, as a prosecutor and as a judge. I have known hundreds of Houston police officers. They are the finest caliber and strongest of character, and Officer Canales was a rare breed in our culture who wore the badge to defend and protect the rest of us.
Officer Canales died during surgery at the hospital where he and his family and hundreds of other officers had gathered. He was 42 years of age. This is a photograph of Officer Canales. He leaves behind his wife, Amor, a 15-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter.
Officer Canales was the first Houston Police Department officer killed in the line of duty this year. The last time we had an officer killed was December 7 of last year. Officer Tim Abernethy was killed by a gunman that ambushed him during a foot chase in northeast Houston.
In the State of Texas, six police officers have been killed in the line of duty this year. They are Senior Corporal Norman Smith of the Dallas Police Department, Officer Cesar Arreola of the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, Lieutenant Stuart J. Alexander of the Corpus Christi Police Department, Sergeant Randy White of the Bridgeport Police Department, Deputy Sheriff D. Robert Harvey of the Lubbock County Sheriff's Department, and now we add the name of Senior Officer Henry Canales of the Houston Police Department to that hallowed roll of honor.
All Americans should recognize the profound debt of gratitude we owe our law enforcement officers and also the gratitude we owe their families. These officers put themselves into harm's way to guard our safety because they care about our communities and the people they serve. They are the ones standing between us and the bad guys every single day.
So tonight we bid farewell with humble gratitude to Senior Officer Henry Canales. And to his wife, Amor, and his children, we say: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
And that's just the way it is.
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