08/29/2017 21:02 EDT | Updated 08/29/2017 21:02 EDT

Houston Police Sergeant Drowns Trying To Get To Work During Hurricane Harvey

He has been with the force for 34 years.

Houston Police Department
Sgt. Steve Perez died Sunday going to work when he drowned in Hurricane Harvey.

A Houston police sergeant on his way to work to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey drowned after his patrol car got stuck in rain-swollen flooding.

"I am deeply saddened to announce the death of Sgt. Steve Perez," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a press conference Tuesday. "This is an individual who was with the HPD ― Houston's finest men and women in blue ― for 34 years."

Perez drowned Sunday morning ― two days shy of his 61st birthday, Acevedo said. He was driving to work downtown when high water trapped him near I-45 and Hardy Toll Road, first reported.

At least 15 other people have died in the storm. More than 3,500 people have been rescued.

"I look forward to taking this man and giving him the honors that he and his family so graciously deserve," Acevedo said. "They know it's going to be a while because we have some work to do ― work that he would want us to do."

Perez leaves his wife, Cheryl, a son and a daughter.

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