April 19 (UPI) -- A police officer died and two others were critically injured after responding to an "assault/domestic disturbance" at an apartment complex in San Marcos, Texas, the police agency said Sunday morning.
The suspect died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday night, according to a Facebook post by the agency, which is 30 miles south of Austin and about the same distance north of San Antonio.
Killed in the shooting, which was described by police as an "ambush," was Justin R. Putnam, 31, a member of the force for 5 1/2 years.
"Our family in blue is mourning the loss of our fallen brother," the San Marco police department posted on Facebook. "Words can never adequately express our profound sorrow for Officer Putnam's family and loved ones. To say he will be missed is an understatement."
The two injured officers, Franco C. Stewart and Justin P. Miller, were transported to Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle where they underwent surgery and are in critical but stable condition, the agency said in a news conference Sunday, KXAN-TV reported.
Mueller has been an officer for 10 months after serving as a telecommunications operator with with the department for more than 11 years. Stewart has worked for the department for five months and previously was with McAllen Police Department for 2 1/2 years.
The shooter was tentatively identified as Alfredo Perez De La Cruz, 46.
The suspect began firing a rifle at officers responding to a family violence call at Twin Lake Villas Apartments around 6 p.m. De la Cruz reportedly had hit his wife and other people were inside the building.
"They had to make entry. As they entered he ambushed them," Interim Police Chief Bob Klett said. "There was nothing they could do to escape the gunfire. He was ready for them."
Klett said the man wore body armor "as part of his preparation for the officers coming in."
The last officer killed from the department was Kenneth Copeland, who was shot and killed while serving a warrant on Dec. 4, 2017.
The officer is the 15th to die by gunfire in the United States this year, according to ABC News.
"Tonight's shooting in San Marcos is a somber reminder of the service and sacrifice our brave men and women in law enforcement make every day to keep us safe," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "I am grateful for the swift action of the San Marcos Police Department in containing the threat and minimizing the loss of life. I ask all Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for the officer killed and for those injured, and for the continued safety of all law enforcement officers who protect our communities."