1 officer killed, 3 wounded in standoff with Texas gunman

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LEVELLAND, Texas (AP) — One officer was killed and three others were wounded Thursday when a police standoff in a small West Texas city erupted in gunfire.

The incident involved a man reported as possibly armed shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday on a residential street in Levelland, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. The confrontation escalated quickly, gunfire erupted as the suspect barricaded himself inside a house, and a standoff ensued.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the man to open fire or to barricade himself in a house.

Three of the wounded officers were taken to a Lubbock hospital. An officer taken to a Levelland hospital, Sgt. Josh Bartlett of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, died of his wounds, according to a sheriff’s office statement. Bartlett was the commander of the sheriff’s tactical unit.

Two other deputies, one from Lubbock County and one from Hockley County, were in critical condition, according to a statement from the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas. A Levelland police officer also was wounded. The identities of those three officers were not immediately released.

The hospital where the Lubbock County deputy died, Covenant Health Levelland, is situated less than a mile from the standoff scene and placed itself on lockdown “to ensure the safety of our patients, caregivers, and visitors” and has deployed additional security officers to the hospital.

Media outlets at the scene reported gunfire was ongoing throughout the standoff.

Levelland is the Hockley County seat and a local oil, cotton and cattle center that is home to about 13,500 residents.

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