Two West Texas sheriff’s deputies were fatally shot and a city employee critically wounded after responding to a dog complaint on Monday night.
The deadly shootout unfolded shortly after 8:40 p.m. when the trio arrived at a home in Eden, a town of around 1,300 people roughly 210 miles southwest of Dallas.
As the two Concho County sheriff’s deputies and the Eden city employee made contact with people at the home “an altercation occurred and quickly escalated to gunfire,” Sgt. Justin Baker of the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
According to witnesses, the shooting suspect – later identified as Jeffrey Nicholas, 28 – fled to the property after officers tried to pull him over in his vehicle nearby, San Angelo Live reported.
An exchange of gunfire is said to have ensued as Nicholas barricaded himself inside the home.
Eden Mayor Peter Torres, who lives around the corner from the scene, eventually convinced Nicholas to surrender, according to local media reports.
Witnesses mentioned six “vicious” dogs that are known for causing problems in the neighborhood.
During the confrontation, Nicholas was allegedly heard shouting at law enforcement, “Those aren’t my dogs. You are always harassing me and tasing me.”
Nicholas was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder of a peace officer.
He is being held in Tom Green County Jail in nearby San Angelo on $4 million bond.
The slain deputies have been identified as Stephen Jones, 34, and Samuel Leonard, 26.
“This terrible loss is a solemn reminder of the risks our brave law enforcement officers face while protecting our communities,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Twitter.