A 13-year veteran police corporal died Thursday night after being shot in the line of duty in Mission, Texas.
It was the first time the town saw the loss of a police officer in the line of duty since 1978, police said.
Mission Police Cpl. Jose Espericueta leaves behind a wife and two children, police said.
Our police officers put their lives on the line for the safety of our community. Today our hearts are broken as we mourn the loss of Cpl. Jose “Speedy” Espericueta. We ask for continued prayers for his family and our officers during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/XdjAZXuEkl— City of Mission, TX (@CityOfMissionTX) June 21, 2019
The incident started when a woman waved down an officer Thursday to say her 33-year-old son shot at her car with a handgun, police said.
Espericueta responded and tried to make contact with the suspect, who then ran away from him, police said.
As the suspect ran, he turned around and began firing, police said, and he exchanged gunfire with Espericueta and other officers.
Espericueta was struck multiple times, police said.
The suspect is in custody, according to ABC affiliate KRGV in Weslaco, Texas.
"We're devastated," the City of Mission wrote on Twitter late Thursday night. "He gave his life protecting us. There are no words to explain how heartbroken we are as a community."
We thank the community and the entire nation for the overwhelming outpouring of support for the family, friends, and brothers/sisters in blue of our fallen Cpl. Joey “Speedy” Espericueta. Thank you for standing beside us during this senseless tragedy. #MissionMourns #BackTheBlue pic.twitter.com/sr6pktL2EZ— City of Mission, TX (@CityOfMissionTX) June 21, 2019