One officer was killed and four others were wounded Thursday when a police standoff in a small West Texas city erupted in gunfire, the AP reports. The incident involved a man reported as possibly armed shortly after 1pm Thursday on a residential street in Levelland, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. The confrontation escalated quickly, 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. Sgt. Josh Bartlett of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office was taken to Covenant Health Levelland hospital and died of his wounds, according to a sheriff’s office statement. Bartlett was the commander of the sheriff’s tactical unit.
Levelland police Sgt. Shawn Wilson was in critical but stable condition in University Medical Center in Lubbock after surgery, said Police Chief Albert Garcia. The other three officers were treated for minor injuries, and at least some had been discharged from the hospital, he said. Hockley County Sheriff Ray Scifres declined to identify the suspect but said he had a history of contact with police. He said Bartlett, leader of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT command, was a nine-year veteran of the department who had served overseas in the US Army. (Police think the suspect may have been "baiting" them initially; more details here.)