LEVELLAND, Texas - One officer was killed and three others were wounded Thursday after a police standoff in a small West Texas city erupted in gunfire.
The incident involved a man reported as possibly armed shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday on a residential street in Levelland, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. The confrontation escalated quickly and gunfire erupted as the suspect barricaded himself inside a house and a standoff ensued.
Three of the wounded officers were taken to a Lubbock hospital and one officer went to a Levelland hospital, which placed itself on lockdown.
One of the officers taken to Lubbock, Sgt. Josh Bartlett, leader of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office tactical unit, died at the Lubbock hospital, according to a statement from the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas.
"Our hearts are with the loved ones of Sgt. Josh Bartlett as the state of Texas mourns his tragic death.," Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe, and Sgt. Bartlett's murder is a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifices faced by law enforcement every day. Cecilia and I ask our fellow Texans to pray for the family and friends of Sgt. Bartlett as they mourn his death, and we also pray for the other three law enforcement officers who were injured in the line of duty."
Two other deputies, one from Lubbock County and one from Hockley County, were in critical condition, the association said. A Levelland police officer also was wounded.
Media outlets at the scene reported gunfire could still be heard as of 6:15 p.m. Thursday.
Levelland is the Hockley County seat and a local oil, cotton and cattle center that is home to about 13,500 residents.