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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

San Angelo police kill drug suspect

By Erin Quinn
San Angelo Standard-Times

SAN ANGELO - Police fatally shot a man during a pre-dawn raid on a San Angelo residence Tuesday.

The man was identified as David Moses Chappa, 21. Justice of the Peace Jerry Jennison, who ordered an autopsy, said Chappa died of multiple gunshot wounds, but wouldn't speculate on how many.

Police Chief Joe Gibson said law enforcement personnel were carrying out a search warrant for methamphetamine. The Rio Concho Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement Task Force suspected Chappa had drugs and a firearm.

The San Angelo SWAT team made a "dynamic entry" into the house, Gibson said. Neighbors said they heard an explosion, but Gibson would not elaborate on the tactics police used.

Gibson said police identified themselves and shouted for the residents of the house to get down. He said he did not know whether Chappa was sleeping at the time of the entry.

Chappa started firing at the officers, and police shot and killed him, Gibson said. Details of what took place inside the house were still under investigation Tuesday.

Gibson said one other person was in the house and two were outside. All three were detained for questioning. No arrests had been made Tuesday evening.

Gibson did not how many shots were fired. None of the officers was injured.

Gibson said that officers are trained to protect themselves if deadly force is used against them.

Policemen "had no option but to respond the way they did to survive," Gibson said. "They did a good job."

Chappa has had previous arrests on charges of unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon and possession of a controlled substance.

Gibson said the drug task force had been watching Chappa for "some time." He declined to say whether or not drugs were found.

The Texas Rangers and San Angelo police detectives are investigating the shooting.

"We execute search warrants about 50 times a year," Gibson said. "If we have information that they could be harmful, we use the SWAT team. You always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst."

Contact Erin Quinn at 915-659-8260 or equinn@texaswest.com


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