LEVELLAND, Texas – Officials provided a media briefing Thursday evening after the shooting death of Lubbock County Sheriff’s Sergeant Josh Bartlett.
The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office responded to help Levelland Police with a barricaded suspect in the 1100 block of 10th Street.
Levelland Police Chief Albert Garcia said, “I want to first ask our community members and those around us to continue to pray for the officers we’ve had injured today.”
Four officers were injured in addition to the loss of Bartlett in the line of duty.
Garcia said at 11:17 a.m. a Texas Department of Public Safety officer made a traffic stop near Levelland. During the stop, Garcia said, someone else was driving recklessly and “appeared to be trying to bait him [the DPS officer] into some type of confrontation.”
Later, at 1:12 p.m. police received a call from a concerned citizen.
“Their neighbor was acting strange and was walking around with what appeared to be a large gun,” Garcia said.
Officers responded and found the same vehicle from the earlier DPS traffic stop.
Police began to set up at the residence and initiated contact between the suspect and a police negotiator, “He was very hostile.”
Minutes after that, “The suspect opened the front door to the residence and began firing on the Levelland police officers. We did return fire, but it did appear we struck the suspect at that time.”
The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called in. They set up command.
Garcia said additional shots were fired and that’s when the officers were injured.
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In addition to the loss of Sergeant Josh Bartlett, Levelland Police Sergeant Shawn Wilson was critically wounded. Garcia said as of Thursday night, Wilson was in critical but stable condition.
Later in the evening, officials identified Omar Soto Chavira, 22, as the suspect. He surrendered after the LCSO SWAT team sent in a robot and used gas in Chavira’s residence. Officials said he could be charged with capital murder. He was taken to a Lubbock hospital for treatment of his injuries.