A Texas police officer was killed and four other cops wounded during a 10-hour standoff with a barricaded gunman, authorities said.
Omar Soto-Chavira, 22, was taken into custody at a home in Levelland at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday after a standoff started around 1 p.m., when a possibly armed man was reported walking along a residential street, Police Chief Albert Garcia told reporters.
Cops, including a Levelland police negotiator, responded to the residence, but Soto-Chavira went inside and opened fire at officers from a doorway, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.
Gunfire was later exchanged and a SWAT team commander, Sgt. Josh Bartlett, was wounded in the shootout. He later died at a hospital, authorities said.
Levelland police Sgt. Shawn Wilson was in critical but stable condition following surgery for his injuries. Three other officers were treated for minor wounds and had been released from a hospital, Garcia told reporters.
“Obviously it’s a bad day for us … we did lose one of our first responders with our SWAT team,” Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe told reporters. “It’s a tough for me to put into a lot of words the loss … My heart, our hearts and, I know, the hearts of the entire country are with his wife and family.”
Hockley County Sheriff Ray Scifres said Soto-Chavira was known to police, but did not elaborate. Bartlett, who led Lubbock County’s SWAT team, was a nine-year department vet who previously served in the Army, Scifres said.
“He gave his life in the defense of the citizens of Levelland today,” Levelland police said in a statement. “We send our prayers to his family, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service, Sgt. Bartlett. It is a debt we can never repay.”
Authorities used robots to enter the home at one point before deploying gas that sent Soto-Chavira outside, Rowe told reporters at a briefing after the suspect was taken into custody. He was being treated at a hospital in Lubbock, but the extent of his injuries was not immediately clear.
With Post wires
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