Texas shooting leaves one police officer dead, four wounded

The shooting erupted in Levelland, which is about 50 km west of the city of Lubbock. PHOTO: COBYMOTEDESIGNS/TWITTER
It remains unclear what motivated the stand-off. PHOTO: COBYMOTEDESIGNS/TWITTER

WASHINGTON (AFP) - One police officer was killed and four wounded after a man barricaded himself inside a west Texas home in an hours-long SWAT standoff, local US officials said.

The shooting erupted in Levelland, which is about 50 km west of the city of Lubbock, around 2 pm local time Thursday (July 15).

A 22-year-old man, identified as Omar Soto-Chavira, was apprehended after eventually surrendering to officers late Thursday night, Lubbock24 news reported, citing Levelland Police. It remains unclear what motivated the stand-off.

Lubbock County police said they were "mourning the loss of one of our own, tonight, SWAT Commander Sergeant Josh Bartlett."

The statement said the SWAT team had responded at "the 1100 block of 10th Street in Levelland at 2:15 pm on Thursday," to assist officers following reports of "a barricaded subject". They confirmed that "gunfire was exchanged" and sergeant Bartlett was shot.

He was transported to Covenant Medical Center in Levelland with life-threatening injuries, the police said on their official Facebook account, adding he was later pronounced dead.

A statement posted on the Levelland Police Department's Facebook page also confirmed that there were "four wounded law enforcement officers". Earlier, Levelland Chief of Police Albert Garcia said that the Texas Department of Public Safety troopers encountered an armed man during a routine traffic stop.

The individual, in a Chevrolet pickup truck, was seen driving recklessly and was confrontational during the stop, CNN reported Garcia as saying.

Shortly afterwards, officers were called to the Levelland house after neighbors said a man was outside and possibly armed.

"We did make contact with him, very short and brief. He was very hostile. Did not want to visit with or talk to Levelland police officers at that time," Garcia said.

He continued: "It wasn't long thereafter that we had additional shots fired where we had officers that were injured."

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