ARANSAS PASS, Texas — An Aransas Pass Police officer shot and killed a man early Sunday morning after what police described as a violent car chase that led to shots fired and a deadly confrontation behind a local bar.
Joseph Torres, 35, died at a nearby hospital in Portland. At the time of his death he was wanted on aggravated kidnapping charges for the abduction of a woman that police found last week.
The police officer, who has not yet been identified, has been placed on standard administrative leave. They have been with APPD for just shy of three years.
Police say they responded to reports of a driver in a red Ford Mustang chasing and shooting at a woman's car between Aransas Pass and Ingleside Sunday around 1:20 a.m. They later identified Torres as that driver. A passenger in the woman's car was hurt but police did not say whether that person was shot.
Police said the woman or her passenger was the person they rescued last week in the kidnapping case.
An Aransas Pass police officer arrived and pursued the red Mustang. Police say Torres then started shooting at the officer. The chase ended in Ingleside just behind the Buckhorn Saloon near the intersection of West Main Street and Main Street.
Shooting behind Ingleside bar
APPD says Torres then got out of his car and started running toward the buildings. APPD says Torres then turned back toward the officer with his gun in hand, and the officer shot multiple times, hitting him. Torres fell to the ground and lost his weapon.
APPD then says "other individuals on location interfered with the officer trying to keep him from apprehending [Torres]," but the officer was able to get away and tackle Torres before he could recover his gun.
"The officer ends up shooting him several times. The offender falls to the ground, but then the people who know the offender start interfering with the officer while the offender's on the ground scrambling, trying to find the firearm," APPD Chief Blanchard told 3NEWS. "Well, he winds up finding the firearm again and the officer ends up throwing the, or pushing back the gentleman that was interfering with him physically, and then starts to struggle with Mr. Torres."
Officers and EMS then started to treat Torres to keep him alive, but he died at the Portland hospital.
The Texas Rangers and Ingleside Police Department will take over the investigation.
APPD also said it's reviewing whether to bring charges against the people who interfered, but added that "neither Buckhorn Saloon nor its staff was involved in this event. Both they and the majority of their patrons have been supportive for law enforcement throughout this event."
A bartender who was working at Buckhorn Saloon that night said the person that interfered with officers will likely be banned from the premises.
"We don't condone with anybody interfering in police investigations or police matters of any sort unless it is to help them," Haley Davis said. "I can't even explain how stupid somebody would have to be to stop a police officer from doing their job.
Torres had been suspect in CLEAR Alert
As we mentioned, Torres was wanted on aggravated kidnapping charges, and APPD had warned that he should be considered armed and dangerous. He was the suspect wanted in a CLEAR Alert from Thursday.
CLEAR Alerts are similar to Amber Alerts or Silver Alerts but fill the gap between children and the elderly. Law enforcement sends them out to find adults who they believe are missing, abducted, or in danger.
That CLEAR Alert was discontinued early Friday when police found the missing woman. They said she was hurt and needed medical attention. They did not find Torres -- until the events of Sunday morning.