Audon Ignacio Caramillo, a 23 year old man with a criminal history, was named as the gunman who police say took the lives of two McAllen, Texas police officers who were responding to a domestic disturbance on July 11, 2020. The police chief said Caramillo gunned down the officers when they came to his door.
His name was also given by some news outlets as Aldon Caramillo.
The officers were named as Edelmiro Garza, Jr. and Ismael Chavez. Garza was 45 years old and a 9 year police veteran with the City of McAllen, according to the police chief. Chavez was 39 years old, and he was an officer for about 2.5 years and a former science teacher and coach. Officer’s Chavez’s daughter faced criticism from some on Twitter for using the hashtag #bluelivesmatter in a heartbreaking tribute to her dad. Read more about that situation here.
Caramillo committed suicide at the scene, McAllen police said. “Our officers did not draw their weapons, didn’t fire, never stood a chance,” said the police chief, Victor Rodriguez, in a news conference.
💥From my home state of Texas! My Rio Grande Valley! Dos hermanos die serving and protecting. My sincere condolences to the families and all my relatives and friends in the area.
🙏🏽 Fly High Officers…..Edelmira Garza and Ishmael Chávez! pic.twitter.com/sVlCz7IGnV
— Lupe Ramos-Montigny (@lrmontigny) July 12, 2020
“Every day in the face of adversity, whatever the nature of it may be in these last few years, we’ve talked about the national narrative, people against police… in the face of that adversity, we rise and we serve,” he said. “In the face of a pandemic, officers went to a door today to serve regardless of the threats to us, to our health, to our safety and to our families as well. So we will rise again, and I think we will be stronger for that.”
Chavez was a football coach and former science teacher. “The WISD family is mourning the loss of former WEHS science teacher & football coach Ismael Chavez. He was employed by WISD, for approximately 9 yrs. Today Chavez & Officer Edelmiro Garza were tragically killed in the line of duty. Our deepest condolences go out to their families,” wrote Weslaco ISD.
The WISD family is mourning the loss of former WEHS science teacher & football coach Ismael Chavez. He was employed by WISD, for approximately 9 yrs. Today Chavez & Officer Edelmiro Garza were tragically killed in the line of duty.Our deepest condolences go out to their families. pic.twitter.com/6QjqkfpeYo
— Weslaco ISD (@WeslacoISD) July 12, 2020
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Officers Were Responding to a Call for a Domestic Disturbance Made by Caramillo’s Wife & Mother; the Daughter of Chavez Paid Tribute to Her Dad, Writing That He ‘Died a Hero’
words cannot describe the pain I’m in, but I’m glad my dad is at peace. you were an amazing man and anyone who ever came across you knew that. I’m going to miss you so much. you died doing what you loved most, you died a hero. i love you daddy, see you soon. #bluelivesmatter 💙 pic.twitter.com/GuVIO6jxi3
— Savannah Chavez (@sweeetsav) July 12, 2020
Chavez’s daughter Savannah shared a tribute to him on Twitter, writing, “words cannot describe the pain I’m in, but I’m glad my dad is at peace. you were an amazing man and anyone who ever came across you knew that. I’m going to miss you so much. you died doing what you loved most, you died a hero. i love you daddy, see you soon. #bluelivesmatter.” She also wrote that she missed her dad.
A man responded, “Your father was my field training officer. He loved his job. This Yeti cup was a gift that I gave your father after my field training phase. You and your family are in my heart and mind. My condolences on the passing of your father. We are here for you.”
Your father was my field training officer. He loved his job. This Yeti cup was a gift that I gave your father after my field training phase. You and your family are in my heart and mind. My condolences on the passing of your father. We are here for you. pic.twitter.com/PjfeBugbyb
— B (@brandonwgph20) July 12, 2020
According to the Rodriguez, the call for a domestic disturbance came in around 3:30 p.m. on July 11.
“We met one of the complaining parties away from the location of the incident,” he said.
“The complaining person reported assaults going on at the house by (Caramillo),” the chief said. He said that the officers’ next approach next step is to proceed to the residence to investigate what was going on. As they did so, they met another person in the front of the yard who substantiated the call that there was a disturbance, “maybe some assaults taking place in the home with the individual.”
The next step, said Rodriguez, was for the officers to “go to the door of the residence.”
“They’re doing their job; that is the way it’s supposed to” be done, said Rodriguez. He said the callers were the wife and mother of Caramillo.
2. The Suspect Shot Both Officers at the Door With Such Speed They Never Called for Help or Drew Their Weapons
Procession for Fallen McAllen police officers via FB live pic.twitter.com/k6DuphfmUx
— SacKat (@sachibub10) July 12, 2020
The chief described an ambush at the front door. “The person, the suspect of the incident met our officers at the door and shot both officers as they stood there,” Rodriguez said. “Both officers suffered fatal wounds, they have both passed away as a result.”
Eventually, other officers who were in the area did a standard “roll by” to check on the officers who were on the call. They saw the officers down.
“It was the first time we in McAllen PD knew that we had officers down,” said the chief. “The officers never had a chance to suspect deadly assault on them much less death.”
3. Caramillo Committed Suicide as the Second Group of Officers Approached, the Chief Says
#BREAKING Heavy police activity is happening right now on South Ware Road near Queta Ave. Multiple agencies are on scene as well as Mcallen Crime Scene Unit and dozens of officers and Border Patrol agents. Working to get you details. @cbs4rgv pic.twitter.com/sPZM3dIazW
— Sydney Hernández (@SydneyHdzTV) July 11, 2020
According to Rodriguez, the second group of officers approached the down police officers, and Caramillo exited the home.
“He is behind a particular vehicle in front of the home,” said Rodriguez. “Officers ordered him to put his gun down; the individual at that point in time raises the gun to commit suicide. That is the whole extent of the incident.”
He said that the deaths were “very difficult,” adding of the fallen officers: “The officers came here to maintain peace. Instead, they were taken down by gunfire. The next few days for us,will be very very difficult for ourselves and the department and the city of McAllen.”
4. The Suspect Has a Past Criminal History
Today, 2 McAllen Police officers were killed in the line of duty. Our City extends its deepest condolences to McAllen PD & to the families of OFC Edelmiro Garza & OFC Ismael Chavez. McAllen is hurting & our hearts & prayers go out to them during this difficult time#McAllenStrong pic.twitter.com/SpwHe9yxii
— City of McAllen, TX (@CityofMcAllen) July 12, 2020
According to Rodriguez, Caramillo has a past criminal history.
“Our initial information about the suspect he has previous charges,” the chief said, listing them as fleeing from a police officer, DWI, liquor violations, assault, and possess of marijuana.
“Our strength will get us through,” Rodriguez said. “We gather our strength from our police officers, from our colleagues, from our leaders in our city. I can not tell you how many calls I have taken or missed.”
The Monitor reported that his most recent arrest was in June for assault.
5. The Chief Said Officers in McAllen Maintain Strength & ‘The Resolve We Have to Serve Our Communities’
Our prayers and full support are with the valiant men and women of the #CityofMcAllen PD this evening. This office will provide any assistance requested in the days ahead. We are grateful for police in McAllen and around this great state.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) July 11, 2020
The chief vowed that officers would be only “weakened for the moment but the strength and the resolve we have to serve our communities, all of us here, will allow us to do what our officers do every day,” he said.
Governor Greg Abbott wrote on Twitter:
Two of our finest were killed in the line of duty while working to protect residents in their community.
I’ve spoken with McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez and offered the full support of the State of Texas.
We unite to #BackTheBlue.
Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement on Twitter. “Our prayers and full support are with the valiant men and women of the #CityofMcAllen PD this evening. This office will provide any assistance requested in the days ahead. We are grateful for police in McAllen and around this great state,” he wrote.