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Texas police officer killed, 2 others wounded in shooting

Posted at 9:39 AM, Apr 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 13:06:04-04

SAN MARCOS, Texas — A man who killed one Texas police officer and wounded two others before killing himself was wearing body armor and waiting to ambush them when they arrived at his home in response to a domestic violence call, authorities said Sunday.

The suspect died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after he “ambushed the officers with a rifle,” according to a statement from authorities in San Marcos.

“We are heartbroken to make this announcement,” San Marcos interim Police Chief Bob Klett said in a statement.

In a Sunday press conference Klett identified Justin Putnam as the officer who was killed at the scene. Putnam was 31 and had been with the SMPD for five and a half years.

“We lost a fine young man, a faithful officer and a friend,” Klett said of Putnam.

Two other officers, Justin Mueller and Franco Stewart, were injured and taken to Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle, where they underwent surgery.

Klett confirmed that both officers are in critical but stable condition.

He tentatively identified the shooter as a 45-year-old local man, Alfredo Perez de la Cruz, but he said he and the Texas Rangers were still working to confirm the man’s identity because he apparently went by different names. His criminal record was not immediately available.

The officers responded to a 911 call about a man in the apartment who had hit is wife and was threatening other family members who were there.

After speaking with a family member in the parking lot, the officers decided to enter the building because they believed people inside were still in danger, Klett said. The suspect fired on them with a rifle as soon as they entered, he said.

After the initial shooting, a tactical team went into the apartment to confront the attacker and found him dead of an apparent gunshot wound, Klett said. None of the other family members were seriously hurt.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked for prayers and thanked San Marcos police officers for “containing the threat and minimizing the loss of life.”

It marks the second line-of-duty death for a San Marcos police officer, according to city officials. Sgt. Kenneth Copeland was shot and killed while serving a warrant in 2017.