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Two troopers shot, suspect dead

DPS: Man wasn’t coming out in peace

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Edyta Blaszczyk|Odessa American

Law enforcement agencies investigate a shooting involving two Department of Public Safety Troopers and a suspect from Ward County Tuesday at the Phillips 66 on the corner of Andrews Highway and 42nd Street.

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Two DPS Texas Highway Patrol sergeants were shot Tuesday afternoon while assisting Texas Rangers in arresting a man with warrants out of Ward County. 

The man, whose name was not released, was killed after exchanging gunfire with law enforcement. Few other details about the shootout or background of the slain gunman were released.

Dozens of officers from numerous law enforcement agencies swarmed the area following the shooting. At about 2 p.m., Texas Department of Public Safety troopers found a suspect at Phillips 66 between 42nd Street and Andrews Highway, Elena Viramontes, a spokeswoman for DPS, said.

Viramontes said the man didn’t want to come out peacefully and was going to fight his way out. According to a release from DPS, the man was armed and wanted for aggravated assault.

He was killed during an exchange of gunfire, the release stated. One sergeant was shot in the leg and chest, according to the release, which was protected by his body armor, and the other was struck in the arm.

Viramontes said both are in stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery. She added “when it’s one of our brothers and sisters down, it’s always emotional.”

At Medical Center Hospital, two ambulances arrived at the emergency entrance and quickly rushed two men inside; shortly after, a third ambulance arrived and rushed another person inside the hospital. 

A few minutes later police vehicles, including U.S. Marshals, DPS, OPD, Ector County Sheriff’s Office and Andrews Police Department, among several others arrived at the hospital. 

Other law enforcement officials including District Attorney Bobby Bland and Sheriff’s Mark Donaldson and Gary Painter also came to the hospital. 

News of the death of the accused gunman came from the lieutenant governor’s office. “Once again we are reminded of the dangerous job our law enforcement officers face every day in Texas,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a release. “Please keep these two officers, their families and all men and women who serve us in your prayers.” 

Tom Vinger, press secretary for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the name of the suspect was not being released pending notification of next of kin, and the names of the troopers would not be released Tuesday. 

Odessan Valerie Valles snapped a photo from her car just as the shootings occurred showing one sergeant on the ground. She said she heard a loud pop and looked over and saw one sergeant grab his stomach and fall to the ground. 

She said several officers had guns drawn and were firing. Her photo shows one sergeant on the ground talking to other law enforcement and the suspect face down on the ground. Valles said the scene was shocking and she hoped that the officers were OK. 

Reporters Nathaniel Miller and Jared Wilson contributed to this report. 

Billy Jean Louis covers crime for the Odessa American. Reach him at 432-333-7782 or bjeanlouis@oaoa.com. ​

5 images

Edyta Blaszczyk|Odessa American

Law enforcement agencies investigate a shooting involving two Department of Public Safety Troopers and a suspect from Ward County Tuesday at the Phillips 66 on the corner of Andrews Highway and 42nd Street.