Sunday, January 13, 2013

Article: Timeline of Big Country officer-involved shootings

Roscoe police shooting, 1997
Roscoe Police Chief Brian Selke shot and killed Ivan Edgar Marin after a high-speed chase on I-20 ended with Marin crashing his pickup. Marin, 24, of Big Spring, aimed a pistol at Sweetwater police officer Todd Jones, prompting Selke to fire his shotgun twice at Marin.
Marin, who allegedly assaulted his wife before the incident, succumbed to injuries at Rolling Plains Hospital in Sweetwater. Selke placed himself on voluntary suspension until the Roscoe City Council cleared him to return to work.
Abilene police shooting, 1999
APD officer Jeff Bell ordered Jesus Rosendo Zapata, who was threatening Bell with steel-tined gravel rake, to drop the implement before firing once with his revolver, killing Zapata. Bell was responding to a domestic violence call from Zapata's common -law wife, Erminia Rios.
Zapata was taken to Hendrick Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Bell was placed on administrative leave for two weeks, then returned to his patrol duties.
Roscoe police shooting, 2003
Officer Felix Pantoja killed William Phillip Kellogg, 21, of Georgia, during a shootout on U.S. Highway 84, about 8 miles outside of Roscoe. Kellogg was a suspect in a string of burglaries across three states, including Texas. Kellogg's car spun out of control after a nighttime pursuit by Pantoja. Kellogg started shooting at Pantoja on the highway, wounding the officer four times.
Pantoja shot Kellogg at least a half-dozen times, killing him.
Pantoja was placed on administrative leave. He eventually was cleared to return to work.
Brownwood police shooting, 2005
A Brownwood police officer fatally shot Steve Williams, who had shot and killed his estranged wife just before police arrived at scene. Williams also wounded two Brownwood officers.
Officials then said it was the first time Brownwood police officers had been shot in the line of duty in more than 35 years. The police officers were not named at the time of the incident (phone calls by the Reporter-News last week to Brownwood police to identify the officers were not returned).
Abilene police shooting, 2011
Sgt. David Vaughn killed Dennis L. Willis, who tried to break into a house to escape capture.
Willis, who was armed, ran into an alley near Shelton Street in north-central Abilene, where officers spotted him. Willis jumped a fence and tried to forcibly enter a house.
Officers told Willis to drop his weapon. The 20-year-old suspect pointed his gun at the officers before Vaughn fired, fatally wounding Willis.
Vaughn was placed on administrative leave, but returned to work.
Snyder police shooting, 2011
Snyder Police officer Lee Ortiz shot and killed Dwayne Birmingham after Birmingham shot Cpl. Darrell Campbell in the head. The officers were responding to a report of gunshots fired in a Snyder neighborhood.
After Birmingham, 41, shot Campbell in the head, he pointed the weapon at Ortiz. Ortiz fired at Birmingham, killing him.
Campbell was in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital for three months. He eventually returned home.
Early police shooting, 2012
With help from a 66-year-old man, Police Sgt. Stephen Means killed Charles Conner who, minutes before, had shot to death two neighbors and their two dogs at an RV park.
Conner shot at Means as he exited his vehicle after responding to a call about shots fired. A neighbor of Conner's shot Conner in the thigh to help Means. Conner shot at both his neighbor and Means, who had gained position to return fire. Both fired back, with one of Means' shots fatal.
Abilene police shooting, 2012
Abilene Police officers Gabe Thompson and Sterling Riddle killed Miguel Martinez in August after Martinez broke into his estranged wife's home early in the morning.
Martinez's wife awoke to find her husband standing in her bedroom and holding a revolver. She called 911.
Martinez pointed the loaded gun at the officers, prompting them to open fire at the 49-year-old man.
Both officers were placed on administrative leave and received counseling. After a grand jury's no-bill, both officers returned to work.
Snyder police shooting, 2012
A Snyder Police officer in November were forced to fatally shoot David Dale Rivera, who, they believed, had threatened to kill himself, his 18-month-old son and girlfriend at their residence.
Officers arrived at the scene to find Rivera outside the residence holding a knife and the boy. Police tried to calm Rivera. Rivera released the child, but then ran toward one officer with a knife in each hand.
Lt. Brian Haggard shot and killed the suspect. Haggard was placed on administrative leave, but eventually returned to duty.
Taylor County sheriff shooting, 2012
Still unnamed deputies shot and killed Tony Allen Riddle in December on Braune Road in the View area. Riddle threatened to shoot himself and then made "threatening comments and gestures with his gun" toward the deputies, according to a Taylor County Sheriff's Office statement.
Negotiators spent 45 minutes trying to persuade Riddle to release his gun before he was shot.
Investigation is ongoing.
Abilene police shooting, 2012
Police shot and killed Abilene Gold Exchange co-owner Marcus Cass in December while serving a search warrant for precious metal transaction documents.
Cass reportedly pointed a semi-automatic pistol at two officers and threatened them. Cass then was fatally shot.
Cass' business partner, Charles Camp, was present at the scene. He remains in Taylor County jail charged with four counts of false entry/failure to enter in tax records and felon in possession of a firearm.
The officers since have returned to work. Names have been withheld pending results of a grand jury decision.
Sources: Abilene Reporter-News archives

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