LA JOYA—After a three-hour shootout Tuesday evening, La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez said a minimum of 500 rounds came from the residence at the intersection of Leo Avenue and 9 1/2 Street in La Joya.
Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas stood feet away from a La Joya Police Department vehicle that had a bullet hole in its windshield as he addressed the community on Wednesday morning.
Twenty-nine year old, Joaquin Cibrian was wanted for capital murder. Two friends, according to Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas, brought Cibrian to the residence in La Joya where the first bullets were fired between 5 and 6 p.m.
Two Edinburg police officers were trying to execute a warrant for Cibrian’s arrest when the suspect fired shots and wounded the police officers.
Hernandez said the La Joya Police Department immediately contacted all specialized teams available across the Valley after the distress call came from the two injured officers.
“In this particular instance, I contacted Chief Juan Gonzalez right away and he responded within minutes,” Hernandez said. “Then we contacted the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, the McAllen PD, swat teams, bomb squads, all of the surrounding departments and the FBI.”
It was also confirmed that Cibrian was a known member of the violent prison gang known as the Texas Syndicate. Salinas said the city has never had an issue with gang related violence.
“In the last 15 years that I have lived here, and I was born in this area, we have never had an incident with any Texas Syndicate individuals,” Salinas said. “This was an isolated incident. Hopefully, we never get this kind of issue again.”
One Edinburg police officer was shot in the arm and a second officer was shot in the leg, according to Hernandez. He said the police officers were in stable condition and were lucky to be alive.
“We don’t have an estimated cost in damages yet,” Hernandez said. “There was shattered windows, debris…the residence looked like a battlefield.”
After two false surrenders from Cibrian, a SWAT tank was driven into the residence entrance and deployed tear gas. Hernandez could not state the exact time of Cibrian’s death, but recalled a sense of relief when the gunfire ended. He said the experience is leading to trainings and meetings with the Texas Rangers to streamline communication.
“There were a little bit of problems communicating, that is one of the things we will be focusing on with the Texas Rangers,” Hernandez said. “We had radio problems. Some of the police departments are not on the same frequency.”
The police chief said his department would also focus more on tactical and specialized training to prepare for these kinds of situations.
“You can see our city is not tagged by gangs like in other cities, we don’t have that kind of a problem,” Salinas said. “I do want to tell the community and all the surrounding communities in the Valley that we are safe here in La Joya.”