Texas city commissioner dies in shootout with police

MISSION, Texas — A city commissioner in a Texas border city was fatally shot after an exchange of gunfire with authorities at his home Thursday night.

Gabriel Salinas, 39, a Sullivan City Commissioner, died after a shootout with police and a Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy. Authorities were responding to a domestic disturbance call at his home in Mission, KVEO reported.

Officers found Salinas’ 39-year-old girlfriend with severe wounds caused by “knife slashes,” and her 4-year-old son with a head injury, according to Mission police Chief Robert Dominguez.

Officers entered the home through the garage and the bleeding child ran toward them, KVEO reported. Officers took the boy and his mother away from the home and to an area hospital. The boy was released, and the woman remained in critical condition after undergoing surgery, the television station reported.

After the victims were taken away, Mission police said they encountered Salinas, who fired at them, KRGV reported. Officers fired back, and Salinas barricaded himself inside the home, according to The Associated Press.

After three hours, Mission police and the Texas Department of Public Safety special response teams sent a mechanical robot into the home, KVEO reported. Police then found Salinas’ body on the floor, the television station reported.

“As far as I know right now, it was not a self-inflicted gunshot wound. … I think he died as a result of being hit in the transfer of fire between our officers and the sheriff deputies” Dominguez said at a news conference.

Salinas, an engineer, was elected to the city commission in May 2017, The Monitor of McAllen reported. He previously served on the La Joya school board, the newspaper reported.

Friday’s scheduled city commission meeting was canceled, according to The Monitor. Mission is located in southern Texas near the Mexican border.

“It is with a heavy heart that we report the loss of City Commissioner Gabriel Salinas,” the city of Sullivan said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Salinas Family as well as with the members of his household that were injured in last night’s tragic events.

“We are praying for a full and speedy recovery and ask everyone to do the same. Due to an ongoing investigation, and the sensitive nature of these events, we will not be commenting further at this time.”

Salinas was previously arrested in September for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, according to The Monitor. However, the victim declined to file charges.

Salinas faced a class A misdemeanor assault, but a judge dropped the charge to a class C misdemeanor due to insufficient evidence, the newspaper reported.

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