Police never know when a routine traffic stop could go sideways, but they know that at some point or another, they will.
For Deputy Peter Herrera, things went wrong on March 22 in San Elizario, Texas, at around 1:50 a.m., according to KVIA. He pulled over a car for a light violation, and the man inside shot the deputy several times.
Thankfully, at the same time, Xavier Lira was driving home and spotted two suspects fleeing and the officer lying in the street. He called 911 and hopped out to assist the officer, just in time.
“Well being how I saw the officer, the condition he was at, I think he would’ve been gone,” Lira told KTSM, agreeing that he’d passed by at just that moment for a reason.
“He was losing a lot of blood. The officer had it all in his face, his legs, his clothes, everything.”
“He did ask me to go ahead and take off his shirt because he felt like everything was on top of him.”
“When I took off his shirt he still had the bulletproof vest on and everything. So I was like OK you know for sure he’s OK but being that I had seen all the blood in his face and legs and everything that kind of worried me.”
Herrera had been shot in the head, and the effects of his wounds were swift. “He was already hallucinating,” Lira explained. “He was saying he was gonna die, he was gonna die.”
While the deputy is still in critical condition, the bullet did not reach his brain. According to KVIA, he is expected to survive.
“The deputy was hit multiple times,” Sheriff Richard Wiles later confirmed. “The deputy did not have an opportunity to return fire.”
“We have video cam from both the car and the officer’s body which are very revealing as to the circumstances and this shooting,” he continued. “Those cameras are very helpful in law enforcement in proving cases and that camera is going to be a solid piece of evidence.”
Later, 27-year-old Facundo Chavez was identified as the culprit and faces charges for criminal attempted capital murder of a peace officer and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
“Yet another attack on LE while simply serving the community,” the Peace Officers Research Association of California posted. “Today Deputy Peter Herrera with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office – EPCSO was needlessly shot multiple times during a traffic stop. Deputy Herrera at this time he is in critical condition. A fundraiser account has been set up on Facebook.”
“Prayers needed for Deputy Peter Herrera an El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy who was shot overnight and is in critical condition,” the Sheriff Deputies Facebook page shared. “The Deputy made a traffic stop for a minor violation and the occupants of the car immediately opened fire, striking the Deputy numerous times. The suspect were arrested a short time later. Please send your thoughts and prayers for the recovery of this hero.”
Update, Apr. 2, 2019: Since the publication of this article, Deputy Peter Herrera has passed away from his injuries. An update to this story can be found here.
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