SAN BENITO, TX – A Texas police officer lost his life during a harrowing chase involving two suspects who fled a routine traffic stop, leading law enforcement on a perilous pursuit through several cities near the U.S.-Mexico border. The tragic incident unfolded, leaving Lt. Milton Resendez of the San Benito Police Department fatally shot, as authorities detailed the events of the relentless chase.
Resendez, who had dedicated nearly 30 years to his role as a police officer, was pronounced dead at a hospital after a bullet pierced the door of his patrol car, striking him below his body armor, as reported by Chief Mario Perea. Perea did not specify which of the suspects had fired the fatal shot, nor did he disclose the number of rounds discharged during the encounter. Earlier in the chase, before Resendez’s tragic shooting, the suspects had exchanged gunfire with another group of officers, fortunately leaving those officers unharmed.
Reflecting on the fallen officer, Chief Perea described Resendez as someone who cared deeply about everyone and had forged positive relationships throughout his career. The two suspects, identified as Rogelio Martinez Jr., 18, of Brownsville, and Rodrigo Axel Espinosa Valdez, 23, of Mexico, now face a slew of charges, including capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and evading arrest, according to Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz. Online jail records do not yet list attorneys representing them.
The pursuit had commenced around 4:30 p.m. on South Padre Island when a truck, carrying the two suspects along with two women and two small children, was pulled over for speeding on the beach. A chaotic turn of events ensued when the driver was questioned outside the truck, prompting a passenger to start the vehicle, with the driver leaping into the truck bed as they sped away.
At a certain point during the chase, the two women and children exited the vehicle and were subsequently detained and questioned. However, as the suspects were pursued into Brownsville, an exchange of gunfire forced officers to step back and momentarily lose sight of the fleeing truck.