1 Officer Killed, 4 Wounded in Levelland, Texas Shootout
The events Thursday afternoon in Levelland, Texas are probably going to be remembered by the people there for a long time to come.
It's not every day a town with about 13,000 people turns into a war zone. While shootings are in the news far too often, this was a shooting that involved several injured police officers, including one who was killed during the firefight.
All Hell Broke Loose in Levelland Texas
Let's pray for our Texas Police officers out in Levelland and Lubbock today. Many of their teammates have been shot, and one of their leaders is now dead after a series of strange incidents that all began with a traffic stop on Thursday morning.
ABC13.com reports that a traffic incident with a timestamp of around 11:15 am Thursday morning. Levelland Police Chief Albert Garcia told the media that there was an encounter between a state trooper and the suspect Omar Soto-Chavira who was in a white pickup truck. Garcia says the state trooper reported that Omar seemed to be "baiting" the trooper into a confrontation. Later that day, Levelland police got a call just after 1 pm about a man walking around a neighborhood with a large firearm. When police arrived to check it out they found the same white pickup truck mentioned by the state trooper. The wellness check quickly escalated into a shootout.
1 Officer is Dead, 4 Others are Injured
Omar Soto-Chavira opened fire on the officers from inside his home and quickly barricaded himself inside. The standoff lasted for hours. 3 wounded police officers were taken to Lubbock Hospital about 30 miles away. Sgt. Josh Bartlett of the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office was taken to the hospital in Levelland and died there as a result of his injuries. Sgt. Bartlett was the leader of the Sheriff's tactical unit in Levelland and his death will be felt throughout the community he served. Levelland police Sgt. Shawn Wilson was taken to University Medical Center and is in critical but stable condition.
Police Attempted to Speak with Soto-Chavira Before Shots were Fired
Levelland Police Chief Albert Garcia said a police negotiator spoke to Soto-Chavira at the front door before things turned ugly. The suspect told officers to go away and that he did not want to speak with them. Soon after he began to shoot at police through the doorway. Officers returned fire.
Gunfire is said to have been ongoing through the standoff. It was almost 11:30 pm before police were able to drive Soto-Chavira from his home using tiny robots that delivered gas inside the interior of the home to drive the shooter out into the yard.
Soto-Chavira was described as "injured" when he was arrested outside the home. He was taken to the hospital but no real explanation as to his injuries has been released quite yet as of the time of this article. Those details will come out soon.
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