Brownsville School Police shoot ‘stolen’ car, arrest three

Two adult suspects and one juvenile were detained Tuesday night after a police chase, the shooting of an officer involved, and a carjacking Tuesday morning near Porter Early College High School, police said.

Brownsville police were first notified of the events at 8:44 a.m. Tuesday based on a call from a victim indicating that a gray 2011 Ford Focus had been stolen from a 2,900 block of East 32nd Street, Brownsville Police Department spokesman Martin Sandoval said.

Moments later, at 8:48 a.m., Brownsville Police received a call for help from a Brownsville Independent School District Police dispatch.

“Initial information received from BISD is that people wearing a gray Ford Focus have fired toward Porter High School; a BISD officer has observed the vehicle and is now aware of the vehicle,” Sandoval said in a press release late Tuesday afternoon. Car chases near the North Expressway and Boca Chica Boulevard area.

Sandoval said the BPD is treating the incident as an officer involved in the shooting “because there were gunshots inside the Porter High School property.”

He said the investigation will determine who fired the shots. The adult defendants in the case will be presented at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Brownsville City Jail.

Sandoval provided this schedule of events:

>> 8:49:20 AM – A notification of assistance is sent to BPD officers.

>> 8:49:50 a.m. – A BPD officer has arrived on patrol to assist BISD officers as suspects are “on bail” from the suspicious vehicle in an abandoned building near Lincoln Avenue and McDevitt Street.

>> 8:49:50 AM – BPD Dispatch directs all available BPD officers to the scene of the accident to assist.

>> 8:56:35 a.m. – The suspect identified as Rodrigo Rivera has been detained at Building 200 in McDevitt, police said. At the time, it was learned that BISD PD officers had arrested another male, identified as Carlos Castellanos, during the incident in Porter, police said.

>> 8:59:31 – BPD investigators at the scene have developed identification information for the third suspect, a male juvenile, involved in the accident.

>> 10:29:23 – Investigators worked with cooperating parties to locate the third and final suspect on the 200 Block of Shary Drive.

Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) Principal Renee Gutierrez spoke to the media during a press conference in Brownsville, Texas after the 9 a.m. shooting in the Porter Early College High School parking lot on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, with no injuries reported and three suspects arrested Their, two adults and one juvenile. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

Sandoval said that during the incident, misinformation was spread via social media or other means related to the Perkins Middle School shooting.

“When this information was disclosed to BPD, we confirmed with BISD PD that the campus was safe. No incidents were reported. In addition, BPD officers were dispatched to the school to ensure the safety of students and staff at Perkins, as parents were reaching the masses, Sandoval stated in the press release.

Police said the driver of the car was identified as Rodrigo Rivera, 18. Police said he is charged with marijuana possession and five counts of aggravated assault on a public official, theft with possession, evading arrest by car and evading arrest on foot.

Police said the person left in Porter was Carlos Castellanos, 17. Police said he was charged with possession of a controlled substance, Xanax, and theft by possession.

The third subject, at 10:29 a.m., was a 16-year-old male, charged with theft by possession, five counts of aggravated assault on a public official, and evading arrest on foot, according to police.

Sandoval said an investigation was underway and more information would be released as it became available.

On Tuesday morning, Porter was placed under lockdown once the incident began to unfold, BISD Director Renee Gutierrez said at a late-morning news conference.

“The safety and security of our students there at Porter has not been compromised. …Our officers are well trained and that training is in effect today. …I am grateful that everything we did to keep our students and staff safe was in practice today.”

BISD Police Chief Oscar Garcia said the situation remained volatile.

“I want to reiterate to our school community that our students are safe,” Garcia said at the press conference. “They are safe at school. Our parents should know that we have a police presence, we always have them in our schools. … Our students are doing well, this is the first day of class and they are doing very well. We are safe.”

Brownsville Police Chief Felix Soseda said it was unfortunate that the school year began this way, but that training paid off.

“We’ve learned a lot in recent months from the tragedies that have occurred not only in Texas but across the country, and we’ve taken those lessons and put them into practice,” he said. “This day brings the collaborative effort, what we have collectively been able to achieve, the response, and the safety of not only our students but our audience is critical to us, as you can see from those behind us, from our city officials to our county district attorneys.”

Soseda said officials are happy “to be able to report on this level of response. We’re not going to bring this back tomorrow, but we have a certain level of preparedness for these kinds of events.”

Soseda said officials will keep the public informed of developments.

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