Wild West-Style Shootout Ends with Suspect Down, Chopper Intervenes
A video of a February shootout between police and a suspect in Texas reveals the split-second decisions that police have to make — and the importance that technology and equipment like helicopters hold in modern policing.
The video was just released last week by the Texas Department of Public Safety and shows a helicopter’s-eye view of a chase that ended with a deadly, Wild West-style showdown in Bexar County.
According to a San Antonio Express-News from February, the incident began when a Department of Public Safety trooper pulled over 33-year-old Ernest Manuel Montelongo in for a traffic violation in Guadalupe County.
Montelongo gave the trooper a false name, which he recognized as such. After the trooper tried to arrest Montelongo, the suspect fled in his black Chrysler 300, quickly taking the chase onto Interstate 10.
Crew members aboard a DPS helicopter were able to identify the car on an access road by its license plate and began pursuit.
Check out the video here. (Warning: It’s graphic and ends with two individuals shot, one fatally. Viewer discretion is advised.)
At one point, the vehicle went the wrong way on the road. Even though troopers were having a difficult time catching up, the chopper was able to keep tabs on the Chrysler 300 through quick intervention.
Due to the fact that one of Montelongo’s tires was disintegrating — eventually he was driving on a rim, though it wasn’t clear how the tire blew out — the DPS vehicles were able to get in position to end the chase. And that’s when things began to get even more serious.
“It looks like he’s getting out — he’s under the floorboard, guys, under the floorboard, be careful,” a voice from the chopper’s radio can be heard saying.
That’s key, because it meant Montelongo was reaching for something, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out what it was.
The chopper was then able to warn that “he’s taking up a defensive position, guys,” meaning he was about to get into a position where he could shoot at police without being hit himself.
Sure enough, Montelongo crouched behind the door and engaged in a standoff with an officer who had his gun trained on him.
Then, Montelongo popped up and shots were exchanged. Both Montelongo and the trooper were hit, but it was Montelongo who ended up on the ground. The bloodied officer could be seen with an arm wound as other DPS troopers applied a tourniquet.
The helicopter that followed Montelongo during the chase airlifted the trooper to a hospital for treatment, according to KENS-TV.
Montelongo, meanwhile, would die in the hospital the next day.
According to KENS, officials say no additional information on the case can be released at the moment, so its unclear why Montelongo fled the scene or gave a fake name.
However, the video showed just what our law enforcement officer have to deal with. Montelongo risked lives, and not just those of police officers. Any number of innocent people could have died because of what he did.
It’s unfortunate that anyone has to die in these situations. In this one, however, we can be grateful the only one who did was the one who deserved to. We can also be grateful the Texas DPS had a chopper that made sure this criminal didn’t get away.
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