McAllen officers Edelmiro Garza, 45, and Ismael Chavez, 39, “never had a chance” as the gunman opened fire in the South Texas border town Saturday, police chief Victor Rodriguez said.
Gunman Audon Ignacio Camarillo, 23, initially hid behind a car when other officers arrived — shooting and killing himself before he could be arrested, the chief said.
Colleagues of the slain cops had no idea of the two officers’ deaths until they arrived and found their bodies, Rodriguez said.
“We have lost two brave public servants who sought only to keep peace in our City,” Rodriguez, visibly distraught, told The (McAllen) Monitor.
“They were doing their job. That is what they were supposed to do,” he said.
“The officers never had a chance to suspect deadly assault on them, much less death.”
Details of the domestic disturbance call that was responded to by Garza and Chavez — veterans with the force for eight and two years respectively — were not immediately known.
Camarillo had a few run-ins with police beginning in 2016 to his most recent arrest last month on assault charges, according to public records.
Law enforcement from several cities in Hidalgo County gathered Saturday evening at McAllen Medical to honor Garza and Chavez. More than 50 police cars were part of a procession that accompanied the bodies of the officers, who were taken to Hidalgo County pathology for an autopsy.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who spoke with Rodriguez, offered the full backing of the state and expressed his support via social media.
“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.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted that his office will provide the McAllen Police Department with any help needed.
“Our prayers and full support are with the valiant men and women of the #CityofMcAllen PD this evening,” Paxton wrote “We are grateful for police in McAllen and around this great state.”
Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen said in a statement that receiving news of the two officers’ deaths was “devastating.”
“This is devastating news to our community. My heart breaks for these fallen officers and their families,” Gonzalez said. “They served McAllen bravely and honorably and I will keep them in my prayers.”
With Post wires