BY MARK REAGAN AND MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ | STAFF WRITERS
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Moises Sanchez has died following complications from surgery this week stemming from gunshot wounds he sustained in April. He was 49.
State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, confirmed his death via Facebook Saturday afternoon.
“Today our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Trooper Sanchez who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our families. I also appreciate the healthcare teams that cared for Trooper Sanchez while he fought bravely and courageously these past four months. May he Rest in Peace and be in Heaven. Semper Fi to a former Marine,” Hinojosa said.
Last Thursday, DPS in a Facebook post said that Yvonne Sanchez, the late trooper’s wife, said her husband was scheduled for surgery to replace his bone flap with a reconstructed titanium mesh one.
Over the last few months, DPS reported that Moises Sanchez’s condition was improving as he underwent operations and therapy related to gunshot wounds he sustained to his head and shoulder.
“Saddened to learn of the passing of DPS Trooper Moises Sanchez who was shot twice back in April while responding to a routine traffic accident call in the Edinburg/McAllen area. This is a reminder that our law enforcement men and women risk their lives on a daily basis. There is no routine traffic stop or routine response to a call for help,” Hinojosa said.
In a statement, DPS Director Steven McCraw called it “an extremely difficult day for Texas” and praised Sanchez’s bravery.
“…We have lost one of our finest, Trooper Moises Sanchez,” McCraw said in the statement. “Trooper Sanchez demonstrated great strength and bravery as a Texas Trooper, and we will honor his selfless service and sacrifice forever. Our DPS family is deeply saddened by his passing, and we’re asking for continued prayers and support for Trooper Sanchez’s wife and three children as well as his countless friends and colleagues during this difficult time.”
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra shared similar sentiments, stating via Twitter that the county, state and nation “lost another hero,” and called the shooter a coward. Guerra also encouraged prayers for Moises Sanchez’s family and fellow law enforcement community.
In a tweet, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez extended his condolences and said the trooper’s “ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty will not be forgotten.”
Moises Sanchez had been undergoing treatment since April 6, when authorities say 24-year-old Victor Alejandro Godinez shot the trooper once in the head and once in the shoulder with what police believe is a .357 revolver they recovered near east Mon Mack Road and State Highway 107.
Authorities accuse the man of opening fire after Moises Sanchez responded to a vehicular accident, fleeing the scene and opening fire after the trooper caught up to him in the 1500 block of South Maltese Street in Edinburg.
At some point, authorities say Godinez was also shot, thought it’s unclear which officer shot the suspect.
Godinez is also charged with shooting at Edinburg police officers Sandra Tapia and Jessie Moreno, according the indictment.
Although Godinez, who remains in Hidalgo County jail on a $3 million bond, has since entered not guilty pleas to three counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer, Moises Sanchez’s death is expected to prompt a grand jury indictment for capital murder.
“At the appropriate time, as soon as we can, we will present to the grand jury a charge of capital murder,” Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said Saturday evening. “On behalf of the DA’s office, and on behalf of the citizens of Hidalgo County, our deepest condolences go out to the family of Trooper Sanchez. We will always keep our law enforcement agencies in our prayers.”
Since the shooting, residents of the Rio Grande Valley and the law enforcement community responded with gestures of support for the family, including vigils, drives and a multitude of sentiment in the form of prayers and well-wishes.
His death also comes after the loss of Cpl. Jose “Speedy” Espericueta,” the Mission police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty this summer, and whose death prompted a similar show of support.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include remarks from local law enforcement.