Levelland, Texas – Four Texas officers were shot while responding to a report of an armed man acting strangely. One of the officers, Lubbock County SWAT Commander Sgt Josh Bartlett, was killed in the confrontation; three others were wounded, at least two others critical. The suspect was ultimately arrested after an hours long standoff.
The incident began at shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday. Levelland police responded to a report of a neighbor acting strangely and walking around with a gun. Responding officers brought with them a negotiator who attempted to talk with the man. But shortly, the suspect, identified as Omar Soto-Chavira, 22, walked back inside his residence and opened fire on officers from the doorway.
What followed was an hours long standoff as the suspect barricaded himself in the residence. Levelland police summoned the SWAT team from Lubbock County. The SWAT team arrived about an hour after the incident began.
The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team responded to the 1100 block of 10th Street in Levelland at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 15th to assist the Levelland Police Department for reports of a barricaded subject with reports of shots fired.
Shortly after arrival, gunfire was exchanged and Sgt. Bartlett was shot. Sgt. Bartlett was transported to Covenant Medical Center in Levelland with life-threatening injuries where he was later pronounced deceased.
Lubbock county Sheriff’s Office (Facebook)
By 9 p.m., the Levelland Police reported that the situation was still volatile and active. Numerous law enforcement agencies were on scene at that time: Levelland Police Department, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, The Texas Department of Public Safety, The Lubbock Police Department, Hockley County Sheriff’s Office, ATF, Homeland Security, FBI, and US Marshal’s office. Chavira was in custody by midnight, and was taken to Covenant Health. His condition is unknown. Covenant hospital was not far from the incident, so it locked down as the standoff unfolded.
Chavira was previously arrested on June 29 on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assaulting a family member and resisting arrest but was released on a combined $66,000 bond Sunday, according to Hockley County jail records.
Garcia confirmed Texas Department of Public Safety troopers initially encountered the armed man during an unrelated traffic stop about 11 a.m. near Levelland with a Chevrolet pickup truck that was driving recklessly. Garcia described the man, who he and other officials did not immediately name, as confrontational during that stop…
Gunfire was exchanged shortly after the Lubbock County Sheriff SWAT team arrival and Bartlett the SWAT Commander, was struck and suffered life-threatening wounds, the release states. He was taken to Covenant Medical Center where he died.
Two other deputies, one from Lubbock County and one from Hockley County, were in critical condition, according to a statement from the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas. A Levelland police officer also was wounded.
Sgt Josh Bartlett was a retired US Army veteran who fought in Iraq, according to reports. He is survived by his wife and 3 sons.
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