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Texas officer injured in weekend standoff dies

/ Source: The Associated Press

A West Texas police officer who was shot in the face during a weekend gun battle died Wednesday, making him the third lawman to die in the standoff.

Odessa police Cpl. Abel Marquez, 32, died from his injuries, said Greg Bruce, spokesman for University Medical Center in Lubbock, where Marquez was taken shortly after the shooting.

Marquez and two other officers responded to a domestic violence call Saturday night. Cpls. Arlie Jones, 48, and John "Scott" Gardner, 30, were fatally shot in the head in the backyard as they tried to make contact with a man inside.

Buckshot had ripped through Marquez's jaw, and bone and metal fragments ricocheted inside his throat, causing swelling that restricted the flow of blood to his brain.

Marquez died a day before his two brothers, fellow police officers in Odessa, were planning to take him off life support as part of a pact the three made long ago. Marquez never regained consciousness after the shooting.

"All three of us agreed: 'If this ever happened to us, don't let me live that way. Don't let my kids see me that way,'" said Phillip Marquez, the youngest brother, on Tuesday. "It's really not our wishes. We're just fulfilling what he wants."

Abel Marquez never was conscious at the Lubbock hospital, but relatives wanted his 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son to say goodbye to their dad, Phillip Marquez said. The children made the 140-mile trip earlier this week.

Suspect arraigned
Larry White was arraigned Monday on two counts of capital murder and three counts of attempted capital murder in the two officer's deaths. A judge ruled that he be retained without bond, which initially had been set at $1.75 million.

Since Marquez has died, a capital murder count will be added and an attempted capital murder charge dropped, said Capt. Barry Caver of the Texas Rangers, the state agency investigating the case.

White declined to be interviewed at the Ector County Law Enforcement Center on Tuesday. His court-appointed attorney, H.W. "Woody" Leverett Jr., could not immediately be reached for comment. An office phone listing for him was busy.

The officers' deaths were the first by gunfire in the line of duty in the department's history. Two officers died in 1982 and 1988 in motorcycle accidents, according to the department's Web site.

The Texas Rangers are investigating the standoff.

Odessa is about 140 miles south of Lubbock.