The Third Ward Gunfight

By BARBARA A. SCHWARTZ

Wonderful that the Third Ward gunfight was captured on video. In today’s environment, nothing is real or true unless there’s video proof that can be posted and reposted.

The video gave witness to the exceptional bravery, courage, cajones, and commitment of the Houston Police officers who ran toward gunfire and engaged the criminal.

Gave witness to how outgunned our officers are.

Gave witness to officers staying in the fight after sustaining gunshot wounds. Gave witness to officers running after an armed criminal threatening the safety of Houston’s citizens and streets.

HPD officers engage in vehicle and foot pursuits on a daily basis that never make headlines. Officers come up against armed criminals every day. They routinely confiscate firearms and other lethal weapons from vehicles and criminals. Not to mention the narcotics and other illegal substances officers find hidden in vehicles in places most citizens don’t even know exist.

What I saw in the Third Ward gunfight video went beyond valor, duty, honor, and heroism.

A debate has long been raged about whether to label officers as warriors or guardians.

The Houston Police officers involved in the January 27th Third Ward gunfight, and the subsequent standoff on Lockwood, are: Gladiators Against Evil.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a gladiator as a person engaged in a public fight or a person trained to fight against another with weapons in an arena.

Houston Police officers meet that definition. The arena is our city streets. Public because every HPD officer wears a body camera.

The Third Ward gunfight was real, not a staged Hollywood event. The reality of what Houston Gladiators face every day was captured for all to see.

But that soon faded.

The video wasn’t shown over and over again for days, weeks, or months on the twenty-four hour news channels.

The names of the brave and injured officers—Nathan Gadson, Daniel Hayden, and Anthony Alvarez—are not known worldwide.

But should be.

No one protested when these officers where shot and bled.

The department and union received more concern and outrage when K9 Nate was stabbed, than when these three officers were shot and wounded in a terrifying gunfight.

Each year, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance awards the Congressional Badge of Bravery to officers heroically injured in the line of duty. I hope the department submits Hayden, Gadson, and Alvarez for this honor.

I will never forget their names, their bravery, their valor, their commitment to duty, and their sacrifice. As they will have to live their lives with the aftermath of their injuries and traumatic experience.

I tip my hat to each and every officer of the Houston Police Department for what you endure to keep me safe.

It has been my honor to write about you and your stories for 28 years.

Copyright©2022 Barbara A. Schwartz  All Rights Reserved.

No part of this article may be reproduced in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author.

Barbara A. Schwartz has dedicated her life to supporting the brave officers of law enforcement. She maintains certifications in first responder peer support by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and the Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support (LEAPS). She specializes in grief after trauma, injured officer support, suicide prevention, and traumatic stress reactions and injuries.