Murder suspect killed in shootout with police


POSTED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 10:23am

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 1:11pm

A capital murder suspect is presumed dead after a a shootout with police officers in a La Joya neighborhood.

The shootout left two Edinburg officers injured, one in critical condition and the second in stable condition.

Multiple exchanges of gunfire broke out during the four-hour standoff.

It all started Tuesday about 4:45 p.m. when officers were serving an arrest warrant at a residence near Leo Avenue and 9 1/2 Street. Edinburg police officers received calls reporting a vehicle that matched the description of a capital murder suspect wanted in a homicide investigation.

The shooter was identified as Joaquin Cibrian, 29, a member of the Texas Syndicate gang, one of the most dangerous gangs in the state.

Cibrian was wanted for the murder of Geraldo Omar Melendez Verdin, a 19-year-old Mexican national whose decomposing body was discovered behind an abandoned home in Edinburg last week. Autopsy results revealed the cause of death was a gun shot wound to the head.

According to authorities, the victim had no known gang affiliation.

When Edinburg police officers arrived at the housing complex where the suspect vehicle was reported, the suspect opened fire on the officers. Two officers were shot--one was shot in the arm and the other received gun shot wounds on each of his legs.

Edinburg Police Chief Rolando Castañeda said additional officers were able to rescue the injured officers.

Multiple agencies quickly responded to the scene, including La Joya Police, Texas DPS, Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, Mission Police, San Juan Police, and additional agencies.

Two DPS helicopters patrolled the skies while dozens of law enforcement units packed into Leo Avenue and the surrounding area to set up an extensive perimeter around the crime scene. Officers immediately evacuated residents living within a two-block radius of the crime scene.

The police scanner reported two subjects inside the apartment with the suspect. Two children were eventually released from the residence at approximately 7:30 p.m.

A negotiation team arrived at the scene to interact with the suspect. Cibrian reportedly told officers he would surrender, but immediately engaged in gunfire with the arresting officers.

Cibrian was contacted by the negotiation team a second time. He agreed to surrender but again fired shots at the officers.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said at that point it became apparent that Cibrian would not surrender. The armored vehicle rammed the front entrance of the residence and officers released tear gas, which prompted Cibrian to come out firing multiple rounds.

He tried to run away but was reportedly killed in the process of escaping.

Guerra addressed the media at approximately 9 p.m., announcing that "the threat is taken care of" and Cibrian was presumed dead.

The McAllen bomb squad was called in to investigate the residence when the suspect told police the apartment was rigged with explosive devices.

The Texas Rangers are taking over the investigation.

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