By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
A gunman shot and wounded a Temple SWAT officer during a routine drug raid gone awry Friday morning.
Officers fired back at the gunman, causing life-threatening injuries. The officers also shot a female suspect who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Sgt. Brad Hunt said. The wounded officer suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
Narcotics searches are routine, but dangerous activities for Temple officers. The shooting was the first in two decades. SWAT officers were executing a high-risk narcotics search warrant at Creekside Apartments at 3550 S.W. H.K. Dodgen Loop. Detectives suspected the residents had marijuana and weapons, Hunt said.
A male suspect inside fired at the officers when they entered and announced they were police. The gunman shot one officer in the arm and torso. The officer's SWAT vest deflected the bullet from his torso, preventing more serious injury.
The gunman suffered life-threatening injuries after officers shot him in the chest and upper torso, Hunt said. The female suspect also was shot.
The officer and both suspects were taken to Scott & White Hospital. Their identities are being withheld pending the investigation.
The officer shot Friday was the first on-duty Temple officer shot since the late 1980s. He was also the first SWAT officer wounded since the group formed in 1989. Hunt estimated the SWAT participates in close to 100 warrants per year.
"They have very good success in keeping people from being able to get to a gun or wanting to use a gun. In this particular suspect's case, he had it in his possession and he decided to use it anyway," Hunt said. "That's unusual but each case is different. That's why in this case it was deemed high-risk and in this case it was high-risk."
Temple police, per protocol, requested the Texas Rangers lead the shooting investigation. Hunt said Texas Rangers have superior ballistics and trajectory analysis equipment.
Four officers, including the wounded officer, were placed on paid administrative leave pending the shooting investigation. Hunt said he was not certain if the other officers were placed on leave because they fired back or simply because they were present at the time of the shooting.
There was no indication if drugs were found, but that may be released at a later time.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.