To say that gun violence in the city of Houston has risen would be a major understatement, as the city has already seen a 35% increase in homicides in 2021 compared to 2020. On Saturday, the city saw yet another senseless killing, as New Orleans Police Department detective Everett Briscoe was gunned down in broad daylight, outside of Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta's Grotto Ristorante restaurant in Houston's Galleria area.
Briscoe was visiting Houston with his friends from the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, which is a New Orleans-based krewe and community organization, and had just checked in to Hotel Derek, where he was staying at. Shortly after checking in to the hotel, Briscoe and several of his friends walked to Fertitta's Grotto, in part because of the close proximity of the restaurant, but also because of the patio, which drew their attention because they could smoke cigars there.
The idea of smoking a cigar was appealing, as the group had just completed the near 6-hour trip from New Orleans, but they were informed that Hotel Derek was a smoke-free environment. But the crew had an event at the hotel at 5:30 PM, which didn't give them much time, as they arrived around 3:00 PM.
Shortly after 5 PM, two men came from behind several buildings and demanded that everyone hand over their possessions. Although everyone complied, one of the men opened fire, fatally wounding Briscoe, while also injuring another person that Briscoe was at the restaurant with.
Although this happened in broad daylight, the two men got away, as Houston Police Department released photos of the two individuals, along with the silver Nissan Altima that the suspects were spotted fleeing the scene in.
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta pledges to identify killers of New Orleans detective
On Tuesday, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta made a pledge to aid in the search for Briscoe's killers, as Fertitta announced that he would be raising the initial reward of $10,000 to $100,000.
“I’ll raise the reward to $100,000 to support the Houston Police Department and all their efforts to find these criminals and to help solve this crime this weekend,” Fertitta said.
"And as an extra effort to do my part, I’m going to contribute $1 million to the police department when he needs to solve a crime. When he needs a tipster out there and he needs 25 or 50 or $100,000, I will give him the money to help take these violent criminals off the street.”
Fertitta, the chairman of the Houston Police Foundation, also gave a $1 million donation to the Houston Police Department, which he tweeted about on Tuesday.
Briscoe, a 13-year veteran of the New Orleans police force, was escorted back to Louisiana on Tuesday, as his funeral will be held on Saturday.