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El Paso SWAT Standoff adds to concern over higher crime rates

El Paso saw an 8% increase in crime rates according to the FBI Quarterly Uniform Crime Report, which has caused conversation amongst the city. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Between 2022 to 2023, El Paso saw an 8% increase in crime rates, ranking it below five other cities: Washington D.C., Memphis, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Baltimore on the FBI Quarterly Uniform Crime Report for the cities of more than 500,000 people with largest crime increases.  

El Paso Matters analyzed the data released by the FBI and shared that property crimes, auto theft and arson had a 51.5% and 51.6% increase in 2024. Violent crimes have increased as well with 33 murders in 2023 marking a 50% rise from 2022. Robberies increased by 13% and aggravated assaults rose by 1.3%. With one of the most recent incidents happening on the evening of April 11. where the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) was called to a report of shots fired to the 300 block of Sky View in west El Paso which prompted officers to secure the area according to KTSM.  

KFOX reports that this led to a SWAT standoff which lasted until 11:30 p.m. when residents heard the last shots fired.  

According to ABC-7 the situation ended in an officer-involved shooting, the suspect was shot and taken to the University Medical Center where they were later pronounced dead. Before the shooting, negotiators attempted to deescalate the situation, but EPPD confirmed to ABC-7 that the suspect was shooting at law enforcement. 

Despite these increases in crime, El Paso Matters reported earlier this year that the most recent data available from 2022 showed that El Paso still ranked as number 10 in the safest big cities in the U.S according to the FBI crime data for America’s 100 largest cities. 

Following the officer involved shooting, KTSM states that police shared there will two criminal investigations will be conducted. One will be from the Crimes Against Persons Unit of the El Paso Police Department and the Texas Rangers. EPPD Internal Affairs shooting review team will be conducting an administrative investigation. 

“These investigations are standard procedure whenever an El Paso Police Officer is involved in an officer-involved shooting. No officers were injured during the incident,” EPPD said.  

Residents of the area also commented on the incident to KFOX, Sam Stanford said he heard police throw tear gas to try and get the suspect to leave his barricaded apartment.  

“It was a sad situation because they were screaming out, hearing from his mother and everything from the suspect’s mother. Just she’s out here crying,” Standford said. 

Another resident, Blake Stevens, shared how he heard police officers try to urge the suspect out of the apartment.

“I remember hearing policemen on a megaphone,” Stevens said. “He was talking to somebody inside one of the apartments behind my house. I guess he had barricaded himself in there. They were trying to get him to come out.” 

While the suspect’s identity has not been released by the police, the suspect’s sister Olivia Mercado identified the suspect as 27-year-old Martin Herrera. 

Mercado tells KTSM that her brother was going through a mental health crisis and had bipolar disorder. Herrera was getting accustomed to living in El Paso as he had just moved to the city with his mother 10 days prior to the shooting. 

While more information will be released as the investigation into the shooting and Herrera death continues, this case has added to the discussion among the El Paso community if incidents like this are becoming more common due to El Paso’s increasing crime rates. Police advise residents of the city to stay vigilant and they hope they can see a decrease in crime over time.  

Ximena Cordero is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ximena Cordero
Ximena Cordero, Staff Reporter
Ximena Cordero is a freshman at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is a staff reporter at The Prospector. She is majoring in communications and deciding between a minor in creative writing or English literature. After graduating, she would like to pursue a master's degree, work as a journalist or communication specialist, and maybe even write her own books. She wants a career that will allow her to explore the world and see new perspectives and cultures.
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