Suspect dead in shooting of 3 Texas deputies serving search warrant
All three officers have been treated and released from the hospital
Odessa American, Texas
ECTOR COUNTY, Texas — Serving warrants is more than just knocking on someone’s door and serving them with one.
Three Ector County Sheriff’s deputies were shot while serving a warrant Monday night. All three, Josh Pool, Special Investigative Unit, Cody Smith, CID Investigator, and Ricky Rodriguez, Reserve Officer, were treated and released from Medical Center Hospital.
The deputies, working as part of a SWAT team, were serving a narcotics search warrant at about 9:30 p.m. Monday in the 7300 block of Kentucky Avenue, near Shlemeyer Field, when the shooting began, Sheriff Mike Griffis said.
One suspect was killed and a second was arrested and charged with failure to identify and possible further charges.
The Texas Rangers are investigating the incident, which is standard protocol for all officer-involved shootings.
Sheriff Mike Griffis said this was a no-knock warrant. He said deputies rarely try a soft entry for safety and SWAT teams are employed.
“If we knock, they would have an opportunity to destroy evidence you’re there to seize,” Griffis said.
The SWAT team meets to plan entry into the residence. They are stationed at different points on the property and a search warrant is executed and the search begins.
“In my early days of law enforcement, we didn’t have the luxury of having a SWAT team. Therefore, a bunch of us would just gather up and knock down the door,” Griffis said.
“In this day and time, with all the violence and guns we try to utilize SWAT teams,” he added.
They also check a suspect’s prior record for any information that might indicate they are “extremely dangerous or if they have a weapons history or anything of that nature,” Griffis said.
SWAT training is conducted monthly and Griffis said they send people to SWAT school.
“We do try to keep our training up and try to be proficient,” he said.
He added that everyone has a ballistic vest, helmet and a tactical rifle.
“When you go into a house where there are individuals you have the intention of arresting, it’s a very dangerous ordeal to do that especially in this day and time,” Griffis said. “There are so many guns out there. … People don’t stay in prison long enough for our laws to be a deterrent for these individuals to commit crime.”
Many local police agencies assisted in the incident. Odessa Police Department Spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said serving warrants is something the OPD takes very seriously.
In 2016, two OPD officers were shot while trying to serve an arrest warrant on Roy Daniel Garza on aggravated robbery charges and a failure to appear charge out of Williamson County, according to a probable cause affidavit, an Odessa American article said.
There have been other instances as well of officers being shot at, shot or killed while serving warrants.
“A lot of times, we try to obtain as much information as possible,” LeSueur said. “It’s not uncommon to utilize a SWAT team, especially for someone who has been known to assault an officer in the past, or if we have reason to believe they have weapons.”
LeSueur said you have to prepare the best you can for the worst-case scenario.
Police officers are required to wear bulletproof vests all the time.
LeSueur said SWAT teams are constantly conducting training to deal with these types of situations.
©2019 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)