The San Marcos Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for the man they believe shot and killed Officer Kenneth Copeland Monday afternoon.
Stewart Thomas Mettz, a 51-year-old veteran, is the man police identified. He remains in a hospital in Austin for a gunshot wound he sustained during the incident.
A separate arrest warrant filed Dec. 4 accused Mettz of allegedly injuring his wife and mother-in-law in two incidents. Court documents show Mettz’s wife and mother-in-law spoke with officers on Nov. 26. His mother-in-law told officers he injured her in November and his wife reported being assaulted in late August.
Both told police they had several altercations but never reported them because they were scared of Mettz.
Dennis Farris, a retired senior police officer from the Austin Police Department, said serving warrants can be one of the most dangerous parts of the job.
“Especially high risk warrants – there’s a protocol in place where you do your research before you go serve a warrant,” Farris said.
But Farris said even an extensive review of a plan going in can’t guarantee the process will be smooth.
“You can be prepared all you want and have your plan laid out, but if somebody’s laying in wait on you, you’re basically helpless,” Farris said.
Officer Copeland is the officer from the San Marcos Police Department to be killed in the line of duty. Farris knows from his experience on the Austin Police Department that everyone within the department will honor the fallen hero while continuing to honor the badge.
“It’s a gut punch every time it happens,” he said.
But officers can’t stop doing their jobs.
“You pick yourself right back up,” he said. “You shake it off. You know that that person would want you to do your job and do it professionally and do it the right way.”
Mettz has not been officially charged in the shooting death of Officer Copeland.
A spokesperson for the city of San Marcos said there is a police chaplain and counseling services being made available to employees at no cost.