Mission Police Chief Talks About Shooting Death of Veteran Officer

Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez, choking back tears, today explained the situation that led to the first line-of-duty death of a a police officer in the Rio Grande Valley city in more than forty years, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

He says Patrol Corporal Jose Luis 'Speedy' Espericueta, a 13 year veteran of the police force, was patrolling downtown Mission last night when a woman approached him and told him that her son had just fired a gun into her car.

The officer approached the suspect, identified as Juan Carlos Chapa, 33, but Dominguez says when Espiricueta attempted to ask Chapa about the incident, he ran away.

The officer pursued the suspect, who turned and started shooting at him. He says Espiricueta, and two other Mission officers who answered the 'officer in distress' call, returned fire.

"Corporal Espericueta was able to fire back, and the other officer who had already arrived on scene fired back at him as well, and he was struck multiple times," he said.

Both the officer and the suspect were rushed to hosptials, where both were pronounced dead.

He says Chapa was well known to law enforcement in the Rio Grande Valley.

"He does have a lengthy criminal record, a number of offenses that he has been convicted on," he said. "Our department has had several occasions to arrest this individual."

He says the officer leaves behind an extended family, including a wife and two children.

Chief Dominguez expressed his appreciation to wishes of support that have been coming in for his department from around Mission, around Texas, and around the country.

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