SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A San Benito police officer was shot and killed overnight following an hours long vehicle pursuit, the Texas Municipal Police Association reported.
A post by the Brownsville Police Department identified the officer as Lt. Milton Resendez.
“He made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his community last night, and our entire law enforcement family grieves alongside you,” the post stated.
At 10:58 p.m., San Benito police were informed of a pursuit involving DPS. When they entered city limits, officers assisted in the pursuit, San Benito Police Chief Mario Perea said at a news conference Wednesday.
At the 1100 block of Sam Houston, Resendez’s vehicle and the suspect’s vehicle crossed paths. The suspects shot an “unknown amount of rounds,” two striking the unit, Perea said. One of the rounds struck the door and hit Resendez in the abdomen below his body armor.
Resendez, who served as a police officer for more than 30 years, was pronounced dead after being transported to Valley Baptist Hospital.
At the news conference, Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz called the shooting a “part two of a criminal episode.”
Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, a red GMC truck was pulled over by Cameron County Park rangers for speeding on the beach at South Padre Island, Saenz said. The truck was occupied by two men, two women and two children.
While the driver was being questioned outside of the truck, the passenger jumped into the driver’s seat and the driver jumped into the bed of the truck, speeding off. The truck was spotted in Port Isabel and a pursuit ensued, involving the Cameron County Constable’s Office and DPS.
The pursuit entered Brownsville, and gunfire was exchanged between the occupants of the truck and the officers. The officers “fell back” out of concern for safety of the citizens, Saenz said.
The truck was found disabled and authorities began looking for the two suspects near the 511 area of Brownsville, around 5 p.m.
At 10:30 p.m., the suspects were spotted again in a black Ford Expedition, and another pursuit began. The pursuit reached San Benito, where Resendez was fatally wounded.
The pursuit then returned to Brownsville, and suspect’s vehicle was stopped by a pit maneuver. The two suspects bailed from the vehicle before DPS troopers were able to apprehend them. The suspects will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon on charges of evading arrest, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and capital murder, Saenz said.
The men were identified as Rodrigo Axel Espinosa Valdez, of Mexico, and Rogelio Martinez Jr., a U.S. citizen from the Southmost area.
On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement calling the incident a “senseless act.”
“Hearts across Texas grieve with the family and loved ones of the San Benito Police Officer whose life was tragically taken while protecting his fellow Texans,” Abbott said.
The Texas Rangers, DPS and DA are currently working on charges for the two arrested.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.