A seemingly routine traffic stop reportedly turned deadly for two occupants of a vehicle in Texas on Friday after gunfire erupted between them and a police officer.
According to Fox News, a San Antonio police officer returned fire after one of the vehicle’s occupants shot at him, striking the officer in the hand.
“Lucky to be alive”
Despite his injury, the officer reportedly managed to fatally shoot the driver and a male passenger as he backed away from the vehicle. The gunfire also injured a female passenger in the rear seat.
As KXAN reported, the traffic stop occurred in the city’s westside. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus indicated that bodycam footage revealed what appeared to be a “casual conversation” between the officer and the vehicle’s occupants prior to the eruption of gunfire.
Within the span of a few minutes, however, the driver reportedly retrieved a handgun and started shooting at the officer. After the shooting stopped, the injured female passenger was rushed to a local hospital.
McManus noted during a subsequent news conference that no audio was available from the encounter, but explained that “there were no excited movements” obvious when the traffic stop began.
“The officer is very lucky to be alive, getting shot at that close range,” the chief added.
Even with a gunshot wound to his hand, the officer was apparently able to accurately return fire and reload his weapon during the exchange.
KSAT reported that the identities of the three occupants of the vehicle were not immediately released. The officer involved was only identified by his last name, Sauvage, and was described as a five-year veteran of the agency.
The officer was reportedly transported to an area hospital where he received treatment for injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
He was subsequently placed on administrative leave while the department’s special shooting team and internal affairs division conduct an investigation into the details of the shooting.
Another police officer in the city is being lauded for his quick reaction when a gunman reportedly opened fire at the San Antonio International Airport on Thursday afternoon, potentially saving lives by returning fire and killing the suspect.