MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — A 4-year-old child was grazed by a bullet in a police shootout that left a former Texas-city council member dead on Thursday night in Mission, Texas, police said.
Mission police Chief Robert Dominguez said the incident started with a domestic disturbance involving 39-year-old Gabriel Salinas, a former Sullivan City council member.
His girlfriend, who was only described as being 39 years old, and a 4-year-old boy were injured and hospitalized with what Dominguez called “knife slashes.”
When officers arrived and entered the home through the garage door, the bleeding 4-year-old ran toward the officers, who immediately took the child and the woman away, Dominguez said during a news conference Friday afternoon. Their relation was not immediately clear.
Salinas allegedly started shooting at the officers, at least one of whom fired back, Dominguez said. Salinas then barricaded himself inside the house.
Dominguez said a bullet grazed the boy. He and Salina’s girlfriend were hospitalized at McAllen Medical Center, where the 39-year-old woman remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery. The child was treated and released.
Dominguez said police negotiators had attempted to speak with Salinas and encourage him out of the home, but to no avail. Family and friends were also at the scene trying to get Salinas to get out of the residence.
Salinas barricaded himself inside the home for a total of three hours.
When Salinas would not respond, Mission police and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Special Response Team sent in a robot to help them inspect the home remotely.
Sometime between 2-3 a.m., officers were able to open a door to the residence using the robot and saw Salinas’ body with blood on the floor.
“As far as I know right now, it was not a self-inflicted gunshot wound … I think he died as a result of being hit in the transfer of fire between our officers and the sheriff deputies” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said several law enforcement agencies assisted Mission police in the incident, including DPS, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and others.
Salinas formerly served as a commissioner in Sullivan City. He was arrested in 2019 for assault that is believed to be stemmed from a domestic dispute.
The Texas Rangers are now investigating.