Two McAllen police officers were shot and killed Saturday, Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said.
“We have lost two brave public servants who sought only to keep peace in our City,” Rodriguez said via text message Saturday.
The officers were reportedly ambushed while responding to a call in the vicinity of Queta Avenue and 34th Street.
According to Lt. Christopher Olivarez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, the officers were shot in that area and were transported to an area hospital.
A suspect in the shooting has been shot, but that person’s condition is unclear.
DPS sent troopers to secure the scene because the McAllen Police Department asked for assistance, Olivarez said, adding that his agency received a call about the incident around 4:30 p.m.
The circumstances of the shooting also remain unclear.
“We just have very brief details right now,” Olivarez said.
Law enforcement and public safety sources believe the officers were responding to a disturbance call when the shooting occurred.
A man who lives near the area, and who would only identify himself as G. Lopez, said he was working in his yard when he saw the officers arrive around 4 p.m.
Shortly after, Lopez said he heard five to six gunshots.
“I have a couple of guns; that wasn’t fireworks,” he said.
According to Lopez, additional law enforcement arrived 10 or 15 minutes later.
“After that, everybody showed up and then I heard one shot,” he said. “When I heard that one shot everybody swarmed.”
Lopez said before the shooting it was an otherwise quiet day in the neighborhood.
Police are expected to release more details from the scene of the shooting this evening.
Their deaths occurred nearly one year after two other Rio Grande Valley law enforcement officers lost their lives for their work in the line of duty.
Cpl. Jose Luis Espericueta of the Mission Police Department was shot and killed on June 20, 2019, while responding to reports of an armed man.
DPS Trooper Moises Sanchez died in August 2019 after undergoing surgery for injuries sustained in an April 6 shooting that year, in which Sanchez responded to a motor vehicle accident in Edinburg.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, called the news of the two deaths on Saturday “devastating.”
“This is devastating news to our community. My heart breaks for these fallen officers and their families,” Gonzalez said in the statement. “They served McAllen bravely and honorably and I will keep them in my prayers.”
Our prayers and full support are with the valiant men and women of the #CityofMcAllen PD this evening.
This office will provide any assistance requested in the days ahead. We are grateful for police in McAllen and around this great state.
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) July 11, 2020
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted that his office will provide the McAllen Police Department with any assistance needed.
“Our prayers and full support are with the valiant men and women of the #CityofMcAllen PD this evening,” the tweet read. “We are grateful for police in McAllen and around this great state.”