‘They never had a chance’: Two police officers shot dead in Texas

Two police officers have been shot dead while responding to reports of a domestic assault in southern Texas.

Edelmiro Garza, 45, and Ismael Chavez, 39, were shot on the doorstep of a home in McAllen on Saturday afternoon.

The suspect later killed himself.

McAllen police chief Victor Rodriguez, who identified the officers, said they “never had a chance” to defend themselves.

Mr Garza and Mr Chavez were responding to a report from two people who said assaults had taken place inside a nearby home at around 3.30pm.

The alleged gunman, who was identified by police as Audon Ignacio Camarillo, 23, opened fire as the officers attempted to enter the home, the police chief said.

“They were doing their job. 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,” a visibly distraught Mr Rodriguez told The [McAllen] Monitor.

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“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.”

He added: “We have lost two brave public servants who sought only to keep peace in our city.”

Fellow police officers only learned of their colleagues’ deaths when they arrived at the scene moments later.

The suspect hid behind a vehicle as the other officers approached, before turning the gun on himself.

Camarillo had a number of previous run-ins with police, including an arrest last month on assault charges, according to public records.

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More details about the domestic disturbance Mr Garza and Mr Chavez were responding to are not currently known.

The fallen officers were honoured by other members of law enforcement from several nearby cities on Saturday evening.

More than 50 police cars formed a procession that accompanied the officers’ bodies, which were taken for post-mortem examinations.

Mr Rodriguez said: “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.

“We gather our strength from our police officers, and we gather our strengths from our colleagues, as you can see here.”

Mr Garza had been with the police department for more than eight years, while Mr Chavez had over two years of experience.

Texas governor Greg Abbott, who spoke with Mr Rodriguez, wrote on Twitter: “Two of our finest were killed in the line of duty while working to protect residents in their community… We unite to #BackTheBlue.”

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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