Two Texas Officers Die from Gunfire
The state of Texas was saddened to publicly announce the loss of two police officers in its state due to gunfire and domestic violence. Police Officer Edelmiro Garza, Jr., age 35, was one of the two officers shot and killed on Saturday, July 11, 2020.
Officer Garza and another officer, Police Officer Ismael Chavez, responded to a call for help related to domestic violence. A domestic disturbance was called in for the 3500 block of Queta Street. The call came in at approximately 3:00 p.m. in an area near Los Encinos Park.
As both officers were approaching the residence, they were ambushed and shot before either could draw their weapon. Other officers were sent to check on the response and immediately called for back-up. Both officers were shot and killed.
The radio silence caused concern, and other officers were sent to check on Garza and Chavez. Finding them both dead on the scene, the officers drew their weapons and ordered the suspect to drop his gun. The suspect, hearing the police orders and more arriving on the scene, committed suicide before an arrest could be made.
Police Chief Victor Rodriguez was emotional during the briefing. "The officers never had a chance to suspect a deadly assault on them, much less death, at that moment in time."
"We are weakened for the moment, but the strength and resolve we have to serve our communities, all of us here, will allow us to do what we do every day and what our officers do every day," Rodriguez said. "In the face of adversity, we rise, and we serve nonetheless."
Gun Violence and Law Enforcement
Policing is a dangerous career choice. There are many reasons why becoming a police officer can be detrimental to having a long and healthy life. Statistics are kept by many different agencies regarding the cause of deaths each year. The idea is to study the causes and find ways to reduce the harm to officers and save lives.
Gun violence tops the list of the number one cause of line-of-duty deaths each year. In 2018, it was the first year that another reason, vehicle-related deaths, tied for the most lives taken. Both issues cause the majority of all line-of-duty deaths among law enforcement officers of all agencies and ranks. In 2019, 49 officers died as a result of another person’s criminal acts. Of this number, 44 were killed by gun violence.
McAllen Police Department
Police Officer Edelmiro Garza, Jr. served the community through his career as a law enforcement officer for over nine years with the McAllen Police Department. The McAllen Police Department is the primary law enforcement for the city of McAllen, Texas. This department is active in community relations and providing public safety for over 106,000 residents. McAllen, Texas, is located in Hidalgo County. The McAllen Police Department currently has approximately 250 sworn officers along with other civilian employees.
Loss Unexpected Stuns Community
McAllen's entire community will bear the brunt of the loss of two of their officers and grieve for them both collectively. The City and the McAllen Police Department put together a memorial site for community members, neighbors, and friends to have an area to leave flowers, mementos, and to show both their sorrow and respect for the loss of the two officers.
The City of McAllen announced the site on their Twitter account. “As our community grieves for the two brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice, a memorial has been set up at the McAllen Police Department for mourners to drop off flowers or small keepsakes to keep their memories alive.”
Jim Darling, Mayor of McAllen, expressed his deepest condolences regarding the shooting and loss of lives. “It’s with a heavy heart I share the terrible news that today we lost two of our brave McAllen Police Officers. My deepest condolences and sympathies go out to the families of Officer Edelmiro Garza and Ismael Chavez. I ask for prayers for their loved ones during this difficult time.”
Hidalgo County Judge, Richard Cortez, posted his grief over the loss of two crucial servants of the community and spread the Governor's orders to fly flags at half-staff on his Facebook page. "Texas Governor Greg Abbott granted permission to fly the US and Texas flags at half-staff in honor of the life and public service of McAllen Officer Police Officer Edelmiro Garza, Jr., and Officer Ismael Chavez, Jr. They were killed in the line of duty on Sat, July 11, 2020.”
The Judge also commented that these two officers had left an “indelible mark on the community.”