An officer was killed and four others were wounded during a standoff involving a barricaded person in Levelland, Texas, on Thursday, according to police.”The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of our own, tonight, SWAT Commander Sergeant Josh Bartlett,” said.
Levelland Chief of Police Albert Garcia said police received a call in the early afternoon about a neighbor who was acting strangely and walking around with what appeared to be a large gun.
As officers arrived, they noticed a Chevrolet pickup truck in the driveway that was reported by a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper earlier in the day. The driver of the car at the time was driving recklessly, and “appeared to be trying to bait” the trooper into some type of confrontation, according to Garcia.
The officers did not immediately approach the residence.
“Because we did not have much information in regards to whether or not this weapon was truly in fact a real weapon or not, we took precautions,” Garcia said.
“We began to try to get negotiations started,” Garcia said. “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.”
Within minutes after contact, the suspect opened the front door and began firing on the Levelland police officers, according to Garcia.
Lubbock County officers and its SWAT team responded to the scene to assist, according to police.
“It wasn’t long thereafter that we had additional shots fired where we had officers that were injured,” Garcia said.
“We appreciate the public’s support during this difficult time and ask for continued prayers for his family, both blood and blue,” the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office said, in reference to Sgt. Bartlett, who was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced dead.
A 22-year-old man was taken into custody Thursday night, according to Lubbock County Sheriff spokesperson Kasie Davis.
The man, identified as Omar Soto Chavira, was transported to a hospital in Lubbock with serious injuries, Davis said. No further information on the injuries was provided and the investigation has been turned over to the state Department of Public Safety’s Texas Rangers, Davis said.
Levelland is a city of around 13,000 people located about 30 miles west of Lubbock.