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Texas police chief shot dead during traffic stop

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - The police chief of a small south Texas town was shot dead during a traffic stop on Saturday, a county sheriff said.

Michael Pimentel died of multiple gunshot wounds suffered in a confrontation with a motorist shortly before noon in Elmendorf, a rural community of about 1,500 people just southeast of San Antonio, said Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau.

“We don’t know exactly what ensued between the two individuals but it did result in the suspect firing a weapon that hit the chief several times,” Pamerleau said.

Pimentel was taken by air ambulance to a San Antonio hospital where he died a short time later, she said.

Joshua Manuel Lopez, 24, was taken into custody on charges of capital murder of a police officer, Pamerleau said. When Lopez was stopped, he was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant for graffiti, she said.

Pimentel was in his 60s and had served as chief for about a year and a half, Pamerleau said. He was head of a small department that included a sergeant, two officers and several volunteer reserve officers, she said.

“This tragedy today reinforces the fact that our law enforcement officers’ jobs are dangerous and you never know what they might encounter,” Pamerleau said. “Here was a quiet and peaceful community in south Texas that in an instant turned to tragedy."

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles)

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