First Responders

Texas Town Mourns SWAT Commander Killed in Deadly Shootout

July 20, 2021Joshua Skovlund
sergeant joshua bartlett

Sgt. Joshua Bartlett’s body is escorted to the medical examiner’s office Thursday evening. Screengrab courtesy of YouTube.

A Texas community is mourning the loss of a sheriff’s deputy killed in a shootout Thursday. Four officers were shot by a man who tried to provoke a confrontation with police earlier in the day. After an extended standoff at the man’s home, he opened fire on officers, killing Sgt. Joshua Bartlett, the commander of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team. Bartlett was transported to a local hospital, where he died. 

Bartlett will be laid to rest Friday at 10 a.m., according to an LCSO Facebook post. A large crowd gathered with American flags as a procession carried Bartlett’s body from the hospital. Local news outlet Everything Lubbock reported that flags are at half-staff around the small town. A memorial run was also planned. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Bartlett was also a US Army veteran.

The incident began when one of the gunman’s neighbors called police after witnessing the man walking around his house with a large gun, according to Levelland Police Chief Albert Garcia. When police arrived, they found a white Chevy pickup truck that Texas State Troopers had been searching for after its driver had “appeared to be trying to bait” a trooper into some type of confrontation.

When police approached, Omar Soto Chavira, 22, retreated into his house, prompting police to call the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team. Police tried to negotiate with Chavira, but he fired on officers, striking four of them. 

Bartlett was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Three other officers were shot, with one still in critical condition Monday, according to Garcia.

Chavira eventually surrendered to police after a 10-hour standoff, during which police punched holes in the walls and launched tear gas into the home. Garcia said Chavira had been wounded in the standoff but did not specify whether he had been shot.

Read Next: Texas National Guard Soldiers Held at Gunpoint in ‘Crazy’ Incident

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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