On Saturday, two police officers, Edelmiro Garza, 45, and Ismael Chavez, 39, responded to a domestic disturbance report in McAllen, Texas. When they arrived at the house in question, Audon Ignacio Camarillo opened the door and fired five to six shots before the officers had the opportunity to protect themselves.
Both officers succumbed before additional forces arrived. Camarillo then killed himself moments later as more officers responded to the call.
“Words cannot describe the pain I’m in, but I’m glad my dad is at peace. you were an amazing man and anyone who ever came across you knew that. I’m going to miss you so much. you died doing what you loved most, you died a hero. I love you daddy, see you soon. #bluelivesmatter”
Eighteen-year-old Savannah Benavides/Chavez posted these words on Twitter to honor the man who, though not biologically related, had become like a father to her.
While some responded with condolences to the tweet, since deleted by Chavez, others harangued her for using the #bluelivesmatter hashtag.
“He got what he deserved,” said one Twitter user.
Many used the hashtag #ACAB (all cops are bastards) and employed an array of expletives to voice their disgust of Chavez’s choice of occupation.
“I know the absolute pain of losing a parent. I was 11 when my dad died. It almost destroyed me. But #bluelivesmatter is bullshit because it’s a badge and a uniform. It can be taken off. Becoming a cop is a CHOICE. All lives can’t matter until #blacklivesmatter,” said another.
Some expressed sympathy for Chavez’s loss with varying degrees of sincerity but criticized her use of a “racist” hashtag.
Chavez's defenders on Twitter called out the vitriol directed at her and her deceased father, managing to screenshot the tweet and comments before Chavez deleted it.
This is Savannah, the daughter of Ismael Chavez, one of the cops that was shot yesterday. She seems to have deleted her posts grieving her father due to the amount of hate she was getting from “anti-police” accounts.— Roy Cabello (@rowjelli) July 12, 2020
It’s so sad that she can’t even mourn in peace. pic.twitter.com/tQNTskSdnp
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the comments “absolutely atrocious.”
“I want savannah to know your dad is a hero… his police department should never be defunded because most of our police officers are good, hardworking men and women and heroes, much like savannah’s dad,” she said on Monday.
Victor Rodriguez, McAllen’s Police Chief, explained in a press conference that the police officers across the United States face threats to health, safety, and family. The coronavirus pandemic and the widespread animosity toward law enforcement collectively intensify these threats.
“In the face of that adversity we rise and we serve nonetheless.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbot expressed his dismay at the loss of two officers and ordered the flag lowered to half-mast.
In Texas we honor the brave law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 13, 2020
We mourn the loss of these courageous officers who gave their all.
Texas is eternally grateful for their service.#BackTheBlue#RGVhttps://t.co/bD6nfdXZdj