San Marcos police officer fatally shot while serving warrant

Suspect shot at officer multiple times

SAN MARCOS – A San Marcos police officer was shot and killed Monday afternoon while serving a warrant in the El Camino Real subdivision.

According to San Marcos police, Officer Ken Copeland and several other officers were serving a warrant for a violent crime when a suspect started shooting at them.

San Marcos Police Chief Chase Strapp said the man fired on officers "much like in an ambush situation."

Copeland, 58, was working on his day off, something Strapp said doesn't surprise anyone.

"Ken's a hero," the chief said through his tears. "Today was his day off. He worked just about every day off. To provide for his kids, because he knows there’s work to be done and we're always short staffed. His picture is hanging all over our police department because everybody loved him."

Copeland is the first officer killed in the line of duty in the history of the San Marcos Police Department.

He joined the force in March 1998 and leaves behind a wife and four children.

Strapp said Copeland was shot multiple times in areas of his body outside his protective vest. He was rushed to Central Texas Medical Center and died around 3:50 p.m.

Hays County Sheriff's Office SWAT team came in to assist San Marcos police officers during a standoff after Copeland was shot. Eventually the suspect came out and was arrested.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was shot during the standoff and was transported to an Austin-area hospital. The suspect's condition was not made publicly available, but Strapp said he is stable.

Strapp said he did not know if his wounds were self-inflicted or if he was hit when officers returned fire.

Neighbors near the scene shared these images of the intense standoff with the suspect with KSAT.com.

"It was upsetting then, still upsetting," said neighbor Tana Manners, who lives in the first home outside of the crime scene tape.

She was emotional saying, "To have it happen here was unbelievable. I couldn't believe there were cop cars here."

As the investigation continues, Officer Copeland's family and his family in blue continue suffering under the weight of this unimaginable loss.

"What's happening with our officers? I can tell you I saw a lot of crying.  I saw people's hearts ripped out," said San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras.

The police department has already brought in a critical incident stress management team to counsel the officers during their grieving process.

San Marcos Mayor John Thomaides asked for community support for law enforcement saying, "My message to our city in this time of tremendous tragedy is we need to come together now more than ever."

Gov. Greg Abbott released the follow statement:

Today we grieve for the family of the fallen San Marcos police officer, and we vow swift justice for the killer. The men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to protect and to serve our communities, and we will never forget their sacrifices. Cecilia and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the officer's family and to the entire San Marcos Police Department.


About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.