A 31-year-old police officer was charged and immediately relieved of duty after being accused of shooting his wife in the face, the Houston Police Department announced on Monday.
The officer was off-duty at the time of the shooting, HPD Chief Troy Finner said, adding that the department is calling this a case of domestic violence that started as an argument.
Sources told reporters that the officer accused in the disturbance is Galib Chowdhury. In an update, HPD sent a press release, confirming that Chowdhury was charged with aggravated assault of a family member with serious bodily injury.
Authorities responded to a call just after midnight at an apartment in the 10300 block of Clay Road near Shadowdale in northwest Houston. When police arrived, they found the 30-year-old woman had been shot in the face and arrested Chowdhury.
The victim underwent surgery and is expected to survive.
Finner told reporters the rifle used in the shooting was not assigned to the officer by the department. In fact, all the weapons owned by officers are personally owned, HPD said.
“It’s difficult. We all took an oath of office to serve and protect, but we’re human as well and this hurts,” Finner said. “This is the exception rather than the rule. I want to stand on that, but at the same time it’s important for the public to know, there is accountability here at HPD. Respecting the due process. I’m expediting my administrative part on it. That’s a promise.”
Finner said Chowdhury has been with the department for two years.
The woman’s name will not be released out of concern for her privacy. The couple got married in May 2022, and friends who spoke to reporters on Monday said they seemed happy.
The victim’s friends didn’t want to be identified over security concerns.
“She found someone she loved, so we celebrated. Everyone did,” a close friend, who attended the wedding, said.
“We’ve been through more than blood sisters have. So we’re just – we’re still in shock. Just pray that she’s OK,” another close friend said.
She told reporters she spoke to the wife Sunday afternoon, hours before she was shot.
“You see it (on the) TV and (in) movies and you just shut the TV off, and that’s it. You don’t think it’s going to happen to you,” one of the victim’s friends said. The women hope that others who may find themselves in a similar situation will reach out to their friends and family for help.
Meanwhile, HPD’s Special Investigations Unit will handle the criminal side of the case. Internal Affairs will also investigate.
If you need help getting out of a domestic violence situation, call the Houston Area Women’s Center 24/7 hotline at 713-528-2121 or call AVDA at 713-224-9911. You can also click here to chat with an advocate online. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and need help, call 713-528-3625.