LEVELLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The suspect accused of killing a SWAT commander and injuring four other officers in a standoff in West Texas last week now faces a federal charge, officials announced Friday.
Omar Soto-Chavira, 22, who was charged with capital murder by the state, has been charged with assaulting a federal officer.READ MORE: Fort Worth Residents Concerned About Plans To Replace Nearly 100-Year-Old Forest Park Pool
During the July 15 standoff in Levelland, Sgt. Josh Barlett of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office was shot and later died at a hospital. He was the commander of the sheriff’s tactical unit.
Another officer, Sgt. Shawn Wilson of the Levelland Police Department, was shot in the head and remains in critical condition in a hospital, authorities said. Three other officers, including a Lubbock County deputy, were treated for injuries, as well.READ MORE: Cook Children’s Halts Elective Surgeries Due To Staff, Bed Shortages During COVID-19 Surge
The standoff began at around 1 p.m. July 15 after someone reported a man with a gun along a residential in Levelland, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. The situation escalated as the suspect barricaded himself in a house and gunfire was exchanged.
“The state acted swiftly to charge Mr. Soto-Chavira in the murder of Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Josh Bartlett. Were Mr. Soto-Chavira to post the $500,000 bond set in the state case, he would be immediately transferred to federal custody, where criminal defendants can be detained without bond, ” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “We believe this defendant is a threat to the community, and needs to be kept behind bars. We mourn the loss of Sgt. Bartlett, who served with honor for nine years, and we pray for the other officers who were wounded in the standoff, including Sgt. Shawn Wilson.”MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccines Don't Impact Fertility, But The Virus Does, Doctors Say
Officials said if convicted on the federal charge, Soto-Chavira faces up to 20 years in federal prison. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted on the capital murder charge in Texas.