Officers fatally shoot man who reached for pellet pistol during traffic stop, San Marcos police say

Pellet gun made to look like semi-automatic handgun, police say

SAN MARCOS, Texas – San Marcos police officers fatally shot a man during a traffic stop Friday night after he reached for a pellet pistol that was made to look like a semi-automatic handgun, San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapp said in a news conference Saturday.

Stapp said police were called to an address in the 100 block of South LBJ Drive after a witness reported seeing a man shooting at a car. Bystanders told officers they saw the gunman get into a car and said that the driver fled the scene.

Shortly afterward, police saw a vehicle matching the description of the one the man was seen getting into, and conducted a traffic stop at West Hopkins and Bishop Streets.

Authorities said that when they pulled the car over, 27-year-old John Richard Camacho "almost immediately" got out of the passenger side of the car and faced the two officers who had stopped the vehicle.

1.5.2019 Police Press Conference- Officer Involved Shooting

Posted by City of San Marcos TX - City Hall on Saturday, January 5, 2019

Stapp said Camacho matched the description of the man who had shot at a vehicle on South LBJ Drive. The officers told Camacho to keep his hands up, and while he initially complied, police said he reached for his waistband and grabbed what police later discovered was a pellet pistol "manufactured to look identical to a semi-automatic handgun," police said in a news release.

Police said officers shot Camacho after they said he pulled "upward on the pistol."

According to authorities, the driver of the vehicle was uninjured and is cooperating with investigators.

Camacho, of Canyon Lake, Texas, had an "extensive criminal record including weapon related and violent offenses and was currently on parole," police said in a news release.

Stapp said the decision to fire on Camacho was one officers didn't take lightly.

“The San Marcos Police Department values the sanctity of human life above all things, and any time we are forced to take a life in the course of our duties, we will do our best to provide as much information as we can as quickly as we can to our community,” Stapp said. “I want to extend my thoughts to everyone affected by this incident.”

The Texas Rangers and the San Marcos Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division are investigating.