SAN ANGELO, Texas — San Angelo police shot an armed man shortly after he called a local television news station to announce he was preparing for a standoff with law enforcement.
Gunfire erupted from a burning house that was fully engulfed in flames at the 1200 block of East 21 Street about 11:30 a.m. Friday.
According to police, the man had contacted David Wagner, news director at KLST, about 11:03 a.m. and advised him of his plans to kill police.
WATCH VIDEO: Man shot in fiery standoff
“He (Wagner) advised that he had just spoken with a gentleman that called in to say that he was about to have a police standoff and that they needed to get their cameras and take them to the area,” said Tracy Gonzalez, public information officer with the San Angelo Police Department.
The suspect then called dispatch 11:06 a.m. while authorities researched the identity of the caller from the recorded phone number and alerted responding officers, Gonzalez said.
“He said that he was going to kill officers, that he had weapons. His intent was to shoot officers and that we, implying our dispatch, needed to evacuate the nearby neighbors,” said Gonzalez, adding that before police arrived, “additional neighbors started calling our dispatch center to inform us that there was a house fire.”
The suspect’s residence was engulfed in flames by the time police responded and cordoned off the area.
“Officers observed a man who had a long gun. He was holding a weapon.” Gonzalez said. “At some point during their communication, the man raised the weapon and engaged our officers. Our officer at that point took deadly force against the suspect and shot the suspect.”
The unidentified man was taken to Shannon Medical Center in critical condition for surgery, according to authorities. Officers indicated that the suspect was moving when he was taken away by ambulance.
An SAPD news release later said his name was not being released. In a development later Friday afternoon, a 60-year-old woman was arrested and charged with capital murder of a peace officer. The address indicated on the arrest information was the same house where the fire and shooting occurred, and her name, Brenda Wright, is listed on Tom Green County Appraisal District records as co-owner of the house, along with Gary Ray Wright.
“Right now we are addressing him as the sole suspect,” pending an investigation, Gonzalez said, referring to the man who had been shot without disclosing his name. “We don’t know how many other bodies are at play. All we know is that nobody else appears to be injured at this point.”
Firefighters were held back and could not address the blaze immediately because of the armed suspect, Gonzalez said. The fire had spewed onto neighboring homes before it was safe for firefighters to take action.
“Obviously we had a threat on the front porch and we had to remove that threat before we allow the fire department to move in an extinguish the fire,” Police Chief Frank Carter said. “At least we had an alert before we arrived that he was in possession of a weapon.”
Nearby Bradford Elementary School was put on lockdown within minutes of the initial report, according to police.
The Texas Rangers will be conducting the investigation for the officer involved shooting. No else was injured, according to SAPD.
People from neighboring houses took cover when they heard shots break out. A few people tried to aid the suspect because of the fire, but officers shouted for them to get back.
Leslie Salas, 29, who lives in the area, said she and her stepfather witnessed the events firsthand.
“We were in our house when we heard a loud boom. It shook the house like something had run into it,” Salas said. “We saw smoke coming out of the back of the neighbor’s house, then there was another boom.”
Before authorities arrived, Salas said she went with her stepfather to the neighboring house and tried to help the man.
“We ran over there and my stepdad went to the front door trying to get the man out, and he told us, ‘Go away, I got this,’ ” Salas said.
Tommy Burney said that when he knocked on the door and spoke with the suspect, the man seemed unfazed by the fire and had a calm demeanor.
“As soon as we backed away from the house, because the house caught on fire even more, another boom went off,” Salas said. “The cop pulled up right then and we ran to the cop, and he said, ‘Go to your homes. We’ve already talked to him and he’s prepared for a shootout.'”
The pair said police then told them to “get away and take cover.”
“We heard gunshots, then it sounded like some ammo went off,” Salas said. “We saw officers with assault rifles. You could see cops everywhere.”
About 15 or 20 minutes after they saw the fire, the bystanders heard cops yelling, “Get on the ground” and that was the end, Salas said. “Firetrucks came, then an ambulance.”
Find the original story at gosanangelo.com