SEMINOLE, Texas – A Seminole police officer is now in recovery after being shot during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon.
Seminole Police Chief Bernie Kraft said one of his younger officers was conducting a traffic stop around 10:15 a.m. Saturday for a violation. He said the violation was the driver peeling out of a parking lot, spinning the tires, excessive accelerations, etc.
The driver, 27-year-old Roman Castillo-Lopez then pulled into the St. James Catholic Church parking lot in Seminole. “As my officer was approaching to talk to the driver, when he got close to the door, the driver pulled out a handgun and started shooting at my officer,” Kraft said.
He said the officer was hit as he was retreating trying to get cover. Once he got cover, he returned the fire.
Damion Salinas was working across the street when the gunshots rang out. He said that because there was a parade nearby, he thought the pops were just fireworks.
After the officer and Lopez exchanged fire, Lopez took off from the parking lot and tried to hop over a nearby fence. When he tried to jump over the fence, he dropped the gun. Officers captured him shortly after that.
Kraft said the officer was shot in the lower rib area, at least once. He said it could’ve been two shots, but it was an impact wound that sent him to the hospital. Thanks to his bulletproof vest, the injury was not nearly as bad as it could’ve been.
“This was a younger officer. He had only been here eight months, fresh out of the academy, fresh out of our training. His training kicked in,” said Kraft . He also said he was very proud of the officer for still fighting even after he was hit.
Kraft also said he is doing well, just a bit sore.
Lopez had been previously deported out of the U.S. for possession of drugs and guns. He had a fake I.D. on him when officers captured him. He’s now in the Gaines County Jail and is now charged with attempted capital murder, evading, and possession of controlled substance.