San Marcos, TX – San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Officer Justin Putnam was murdered in the line of duty as he was responding to a report of a domestic disturbance on Saturday night.
Officers were responding to a 911 call regarding a man who had allegedly hit his wife and was threatening other family members, WITI reported.
San Marcos Police Chief Bob Klett said that the gunman, 46-year-old Alfredo Perez Delacruz, opened fire on the officers with a rifle as they arrived at the Twin Lakes Villas Apartments at approximately 6 p.m., KEYE reported.
“As they entered, he ambushed them,” Chief Klett said as he held back tears during a press conference on Sunday. “He was prepared, ready for them to come in and started shooting immediately, and there was nothing they could do to escape the gunfire.”
SMPD Officer Franco Stewart and Officer Justin Mueller were also wounded during the vicious attack, KEYE reported.
They were rushed to Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle, where they both underwent surgery, the SMPD said in a Facebook update on Saturday night.
Officer Mueller and Officer Stewart are now stable, but remain in critical condition, KEYE reported.
“The officers had their body armor that they normally wear,” Chief Klett said. “I’d like to mention that part of his preparation for the officers coming in, the suspect did as well.”
After shooting the three officers, Delacruz fatally shot himself, according to the chief.
None of the gunman’s family members were injured during the incident, WITI reported.
Officer Putnam, 31, died of his wounds at the scene, KXAN reported.
“We lost a fine young man, a faithful officer and friend last night,” Chief Klett said in a press release. “He understood what it took to police a wonderfully diverse community like San Marcos.”
Officer Putnam served the SMPD for over five years, KEYE reported.
“I never imagined this could happen. He was so strong,” his sister, Kelsea, told the news outlet.
Officer Putnam, the son of an Austin firefighter, was planning to marry his fiancé in November, KXAN reported.
“Words can never adequately express our profound sorrow for Officer Putnam’s family and loved ones. To say he will be missed is an understatement,” the SMPD said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that Officer Putnam’s murder serves as a “sobering reminder of the service and sacrifice our brave men and women in law enforcement make every day to keep us safe,” ABC News reported.
“I am grateful for the swift action of the San Marcos Police Department in containing the threat and minimizing the loss of life,” Abbott said. “I ask all Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for the officer killed and for those injured, and for the continued safety of all law enforcement officers who protect our communities.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of San Marcos Police Department Officer Justin Putnam, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Justin Putnam, your life mattered.