July 12 (UPI) — Two police officers in McAllen, Texas, died responding to a domestic disturbance call and the suspect killed himself, police said.
Edelmiro Garza, 45, who was with the police department for eight years, and Ismael Chavez, 39, an officer for more than two years with the agency, died Saturday afternoon, police Chief Victor Rodriguez said at a news conference later Saturday night in McAllen, which is along the Mexican border. The two officers were pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The suspect was identified as 23-year-old Audon Ignacio Camarillo.
The officers had responded to a domestic disturbance call at 3:30 p.m. They initially met two people who reported assaults that occurred into the home, Rodriguez said.
The shooter opened fire when the officers entered the home.
“They were doing their job,” Rodriguez said. “That is what they were supposed to do. The person was a suspect of the incident, met our officers at the door, and shot at both officers. Both officers suffered fatal wounds, they have both passed away as a result …
“The officers never had a chance to suspect deadly assault on them, much less death.”
Camarillo hit behind a vehicle after other officers responded but he then shot and killed himself, Rodriguez said.
Camarillo was arrested last month on assault charges.
“The next few days for us, moving forward as well, will be very, very difficult, for ourselves at the department and at the city of McAllen, but our strength will get us through,” the chief said. “We gather our strength from our police officers, and we gather our strengths from our colleagues, as you can see here.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety and other local agencies assisted McAllen police on Saturday.
“In the face of a pandemic, our officers went to a door today to serve,” Rodriguez said.
One man who only wanted to identify himself as G. Lopez told the Monitor he he was working in his yard when he saw the officers arrive around 4 p.m.
He said he heard five to six gunshots.
“I have a couple of guns; that wasn’t fireworks,” he said.
Two other Rio Grande Valley law enforcement officers lost their lives for their work in the line of duty last year.
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 from injuries sustained in an April 6 shooting that year while Sanchez responded to a motor vehicle crash in Edinburg.
“Two of our finest were killed in the line of duty while working to protect residents in their community,” Gov. Greg Abbott posted on Twitter. “We unite to #BackTheBlue.”