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Officials: Body armor saved Texas deputy shot multiple times

EL PASO, Texas – A West Texas sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured Friday after being shot multiple times during a traffic stop, but authorities credited for the body armor with saving his life.

El Paso Country Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robert Flores identified the wounded deputy Peter Herrera. He was shot around 1:50 a.m. Friday after he stopped a car in San Elizario, south of El Paso, along the U.S.-mexico border. A man in the vehicle started shooting at Herrera after the deputy asked the driver to step out of the car, authorities said.

Herrera not to return fire, Flores said, and the shooter fled on foot, together with a female passenger. Two suspects were later taken into custody not far from the place where the shooting took place. They are not yet identified.

“Fortunately he was wearing a vest,” Flores said. “The round actually hit a number of the more important parts of his torso were stopped by the vest.”

A round did strike Herrera in the leg and another grazed his head, Flores said. Herrera was listed in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery and was recovering in an area hospital.

Researchers are still trying to clarify the “complicated” relationship between the man they believe shot Herrera and the woman in the car, Flores said. The woman cooperated with police and was released.

Officials have not named, the charges pending against the alleged shooter. But bad luck, Flores said, played a role in helping deputies track him down.

“The vehicle, it stalled on him,” the spokesman said. “It’s definitely helped us solve this crime.”

Deputies found the pair hiding in a shed a few streets away from where Herrera was shot, Flores said.

Dozens of fellow deputies and other law enforcement agencies of the El Paso Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety prepared in the sheriff’s office the car park for the donation of blood and plasma Friday during a drive held to benefit Herrera, who is already deputy for five years.

“We brothers,” said the Detective Alan Gurtler, a 30-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who was preparing to donate plasma in a mobile blood drive bus. “An incident like this with a deputy getting shot multiple times in serious condition, it is very rare here.”

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