McAllen, TX – The 16-year-old daughter of slain McAllen Police Officer Ismael Chavez was attacked on social media by anti-police critics for posting a heartfelt tribute to her murdered father.
Officer Chavez, 39, and Officer Edelmiro Garza, 45, were murdered in the line of duty in an ambush attack on the afternoon of July 11, McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said during a press conference, according to KTRK.
They were dispatched to a south McAllen home after a neighbor called police to report that 23-year-old Audon “Audie” Ignacio Camarillo was arguing with his mother and her boyfriend, Camarillo’s relative told The Monitor.
According to Chief Rodriguez, Camarillo opened fire on the officers as they approached the front door of the residence at approximately 3:30 p.m., KTRK reported.
“The officers never had a chance to suspect a deadly assault on them, much less death, at that moment in time,” the emotional chief told reporters, according to CNN.
“Our officers did not draw their weapons, did not fire, never stood a chance,” he said, according to NBC News.
Officer Garza and Officer Chavez were rushed to a local hospital, where they were both pronounced dead, CNN reported.
“Words cannot describe the pain I’m in, but I’m glad my dad is at peace,” Officer Chavez’s daughter, Savannah Chavez, wrote in a social media post, according to KTRK. “You were an amazing man and anyone who ever came across you knew that. I’m going to miss you so much. you died doing what you loved most, you died a hero. i love you daddy, see you soon. #bluelivesmatter.”
Although the teen received many messages of support and condolence, she also received hundreds of vile, hateful comments in response to her post.
“One cop down many more to go,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Aww boohoo cry about it anyway acab guys,” another tweet read.
Several people told the teen that her father is now a “good cop” because he’s dead.
“Well atleast your pops is a good cop now, 6 feet in the dirt where he cant hurt nobody,” one such post read.
Multiple users declared that “blue lives don’t exist,” while others posted laughing emojis and messages such as, “[f–k] you and your dead daddy.”
Some critics blasted Savannah for posting about her murdered father “at a time like this.”
“ACAB. This was not the right time to post this,” one tweet read.
Another user urged Savannah to “read the room” before posting about her murdered father.
“This wasn’t a good time nor the place,” the post read.
“girl you couldn’t of mourned your dad in peace without having to use that racist [-ss] hashtag,” another commenter complained.
One user suggested that the grieving teen should have “made the post about him as a person” instead of referring to his career as a law enforcement officer.
“That [dumb-ss] uniform wasn’t glued to him #ACAB #BLM #DefundThePolice,” the commenter added.
“There’s no such thing as blue lives,” another user quipped. “It’s a uniform you weren’t born with it, next time educate yourself #ACAB.”
Savannah ultimately deleted the tribute post as the grotesque, vile messages continued to pour in.
“Yeah, we [f–k] on her dad’s grave,” one person tweeted. “Granddaddy [sexually explicit] all over that rotten pig corpse. It was HILARIOUS.”
The same user referred to “Savannah’s dad” as “worm food” in another post.
Your father was my field training officer. He loved his job. This Yeti cup was a gift that I gave your father after my field training phase. You and your family are in my heart and mind. My condolences on the passing of your father. We are here for you. pic.twitter.com/PjfeBugbyb
— B (@brandonwgph20) July 12, 2020
During an interview with FOX News, Houston Police Officer’s Union President Joe Gamaldi blasted those responsible for the online attacks on Savannah.
“This is just infuriating and it’s heartbreaking,” Gamaldi said. “These officers were just doing their job, responding to a domestic violence call, and this monster ambushes them and kills them.”
“To make matters worse, [when] one of the officers’ daughter put a touching tribute on Twitter to her father, you had all of these keyboard-warrior losers who live in mom’s basement completely trolled her and said some of the most vile things imaginable to her,” he continued.
“That’s where we are in 2020 – the constant drumbeat from some politicians and some in the media of the anti-police rhetoric and the false narratives have just caused all of these attacks on law enforcement,” Gamaldi ranted. “But don’t take my word for it – just look at the numbers! We’ve had over 159 police officers shot in this country this year…which is actually an increase over last year’s historic numbers.”
I’m so proud of you and all your accomplishments and I’m proud to call you my father. i can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done. I thank God for putting you in my life. you will forever be in my heart. thank you for making me the happiest “princess” ever. #McallenPD pic.twitter.com/aFXsb4b4rD
— Savannah (@sweeetsav) July 12, 2020
Fifty-four officers have been shot since the May 25 in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, he noted.
“It is showing no signs of slowing down,” the union president warned.
Police had no idea that Officer Chavez and Officer Garza had been shot until two additional officers arrived at the scene to assist them with the call.
Chief Rodriguez said that the two additional officers ordered the gunman to drop his weapon, at which point he fatally shot himself, CNN reported.
Chief Rodriguez said that Camarillo was no stranger to law enforcement, and that he was previously arrested for assault, marijuana possession, fleeing from police and driving under the influence, according to The Monitor.
“These are difficult moments,” Chief Rodriguez said, according to KTRK. “The officers came here to maintain peace. Instead, they were taken down by gunfire.”
“Our department and our officers stand by each other,” he continued. “Together we’re strong and I think that’s what will help us through these next few weeks.”
Although the department is in mourning, their “strength and resolve” will allow them to continue to serve and protect the community, Chief Rodriguez said, according to CNN.
“In the face of adversity, we rise and we serve nonetheless,” he added.
Officer Garza served the MPD for nine years, and Officer Chavez had been with the department for over two years, KTRK reported.
Prior to his law enforcement career, Officer Chavez spent nine years working as a Weslaco East High School football coach and science teacher, The Monitor reported.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of the slain officers, The Monitor reported.
“The First Lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the Garza and Chavez families during their time of grief,” Abbot told McAllen Mayor Jim Darling in a letter, according to The Monitor. “I urge all Texans to remember and honor their faithful service to the State of Texas as brave and courageous law enforcement officers.”
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said that Officer Garza and Officer Chavez both “left an indelible mark on their community and the state of Texas.”
“Today we mourn with a heavy heart the lives of two courageous members of the City of McAllen Police Department,” Cortez said in a news release on Sunday. “May God be with their family and friends during this difficult time.”