Pursuit suspect well known to Karnes City police

Chief recalls 1998 encounter with Matthew Mireles

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

KARNES COUNTY, Texas - An eight-year Karnes City police veteran on his first chase Friday did not know at the time who was speeding through downtown and refused to pull over, police Chief Roel Salas said.

Salas said it was not until the pursuit tragically ended Friday night with the shooting death of Bexar County deputy K-9 Chucky that they learned the driver was Matthew Mireles, 38, of Karnes City.

Given his lengthy criminal history, Salas said it was not surprising that Mireles shot and killed the 5-year-old Belgian Malinois.

RELATED: Sheriff tears up describing K-9 Chucky's sacrifice in highway standoff

Salas said from 1998 to 2007, Mireles has been charged with resisting arrest, evading arrest, family violence, aggravated assault on a police officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The chief said he recalls a report of a family disturbance in 1998, where he -- a patrolman at the time -- and his partner struggled with Mireles.

RELATED: BCSO explains why slain K-9 did not have on protective vest during standoff

"Me and another officer were there. We had to call for back-up," Salas said. "(It) took three of us to arrest him."

Salas said, "There’s no telling what was going through his mind and why he would do that."

Karnes City has experienced other pursuits, Salas said, but nothing like Friday's when Mireles’ vehicle was going nearly 100 miles an hour.

Salas said Mireles went from Karnes City, up and down Highway 181, through neighborhoods, to Wilson County, and then finally on Loop 1604 in Bexar County.

He said Karnes City police were at the start of a pursuit that became increasingly intense and violent once it entered Bexar County.

"You don’t think something like that would happen in a small community like this," Salas said. "But you never know what you’re going to encounter."

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