Texas city commissioner killed in gun battle with police

MISSION, Texas - A Texas city commissioner was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire with police and a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a domestic disturbance call at his home, authorities said.

Officers who responded to the call late Thursday at Sullivan City Commissioner Gabriel Salinas’ home in Mission found his 39-year-old girlfriend with severe wounds caused by a knife or machete and her 4-year-old son with a head injury, said Robert Dominguez, the police chief in Mission, which sits along the Mexico border not far from Texas’ southern tip.

They then encountered Salinas, 39, who opened fire, leading the officers to fire back, Dominguez said. Salinas barricaded himself inside the home and after several hours of failed attempts to contact him, officers sent in a robot that found him dead in a bedroom, the police chief said.

“As far as I know right now, it was not a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I think that he died as a result of being hit in the transfer of fire,” with the two Mission officers and a Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy, Dominguez said.

The woman was critically wounded but was expected to recover. Her son was treated and released, said Dominguez, who didn’t immediately reply to a Saturday phone message seeking further information. He said an autopsy will determine whether Salinas was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Hidalgo County sheriff’s officials also did not respond to Saturday requests for comment.

The Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting. Texas Department of Public of Public Safety Sgt. Maria Montalvo said Saturday that the investigation was ongoing and referred other questions to Mission police.

Dominguez said Salinas was arrested in September on a misdemeanour assault charge involving the same woman, but the charge was dismissed when the woman failed to pursue them.

Even though Salinas lived in Mission, he could be a city commissioner in Sullivan City because Texas law allows the use of only a mailing address when filing for office.
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