MCALLEN, TX — The McAllen Police Department is mourning the loss of two policers officers killed on Saturday by a suspect during a domestic disturbance call.
“We have lost two brave public servants who sought only to keep peace in our City," Chief Victor Rodriguez told The (McAllen) Monitor.
The two officers were identified as 45-year-old Edelmiro Garza and 39-year-old Ismael Chavez. According to McAllen PD, Officers Garza and Chavez responded to calls about an alleged assault.
The officers initially met with two individuals who had reported the assault in a nearby home in the southside of McAllen around 3:30 p.m.
When officers attempted to enter the home the suspect, 23-year-old Audon Ignacio Camarillo, suddenly opened fired. As additional officers responded to the scene Camarillo hid behind a vehicle.
“They were doing their job. That is what they were supposed to do. The person was a suspect of the incident, met our officers at the door, and shot at both officers," said Rodriguez. “Both officers suffered fatal wounds, they have both passed away as a result. The officers never had a chance to suspect deadly assault on them, much less death.”
According to police, fellow officers did not know Garza and Chavez had been killed until they arrived at the scene moments later.
According to Chief Rodriguez, this is a loss his department will mourn for a long time.
“The next few days for us, moving forward as well, will be very, very difficult, for ourselves at the department and at the city of McAllen, but our strength will get us through,” the chief said. “We gather our strength from our police officers, and we gather our strengths from our colleagues, as you can see here.”
Gov. Abbott spoke with Chief Rodriguez and offered his support as the McAllen Police Department and community deal with the tragic murder of Garza and Chavez.
“Two of our finest were killed in the line of duty while working to protect residents in their community,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “We unite to #BackTheBlue.”
“This is devastating news to our community. My heart breaks for these fallen officers and their families,” said U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen. “They served McAllen bravely and honorably and I will keep them in my prayers.”
Rodriguez stated what even though police are “weakened for the moment,” he expects law enforcement departments to persevere.
“The strength and the resolve we have to serve our communities, all of us here, will allow us to do what we do every day,” Rodriguez said.
Officer Garza was an officer with the McAllen Police Department for more than eight years. Officer Chavez had more than two years of experience.
The bodies of Officer Garza and Chavez were saluted by officers of surrounding cities as they left the McAllen Medical Center. More than 50 cats were part of the procession that accompanied their bodies to the Hidalgo County pathology for an autopsy.
The suspect would eventually shoot himself. Camarillo had been arrested several times since 2016 and his latest arrest was a month ago on assault charges. Additional details regarding the incident have not been released.