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Lubbock County SWAT Sergeant Killed, Four More Officers Wounded In Levelland Standoff

A 22-year-old is now in custody after repeatedly firing shots that killed one law enforcement officer and injured four others from a Levelland home he was barricaded in for over 10 hours Thursday. 

The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office confirmed SWAT Commander Sgt. Josh Bartlett was killed during the standoff. Four other officers were injured, one critically, according to the most recent information available.  

“It’s important to remember the seriousness of what these guys face on a day-to-day basis,” Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe said at a Thursday night news conference. 

The suspect, Omar Soto-Chavira, was pulled over by highway patrol earlier in the day. According to Hockley County Sheriff’s Office jail records, Soto-Chavira was released five days prior on bond for violent assault offenses. 

Chief Albert Garcia said around 1:12 p.m. in the 1100 block of 10th Street, a concerned resident reported their neighbor was acting strange and walking around with a large gun. 

Police responded by beginning negotiations, but the suspect was “hostile” and did not want to speak with officers at that time. Garcia said it was then that he opened the door and began shooting at police officers on scene. 

“We did return fire, but it did not appear that we struck the suspect at that time,” Garcia said during a news conference Thursday night. 

LCSO SWAT was on the scene within 24 minutes, according to Garcia, and shortly after that was when more shots were fired and the officers were injured. 

The standoff continued throughout the night, ending just before midnight, when law enforcement was able to deploy robots and gas to bring Soto-Chavira out of the bathroom he was hiding in. Soto-Chavira was taken into custody and hospitalized for injuries. Although he is in custody, as of mid-day Friday, he is not listed on either the Lubbock County nor Hockley County jail rosters. 

The Texas Rangers will now take over the case.  

Kaysie Ellingson contributed to this story.

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