Mauricio Hernandez, 31

El Paso, Texas
March 24, 2020

Agencies: El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Texas

Cause of death: Shooting

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Last updated: almost 4 years ago


Mauricio Hernandez, 31, died at a hospital after allegedly ambushing El Paso County sheriff's deputies with an AR-15 rifle on Tuesday in the Montana Vista desert, officials said.

Hernandez died at University Medical Center of El Paso after being shot in a shootout with the SWAT officers late Tuesday night, sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

Hernandez was on El Paso's most-wanted fugitives list and was sought on five warrants, officials said. No officers were injured in the six-hour confrontation.

“This was a very dangerous situation for our officers, especially with that ambush. We are very lucky we didn’t lose any officers,” Sheriff Richard Wiles said at news conference at the Downtown jail.

The shooting occurred before the El Paso County stay-at-home order, intended to fight the spread of COVID-19, went into effect at midnight.

The shootout took place in the desert of Ascension Street and Greg Drive near Mountain View High School, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Sheriff's Cmdr. Ryan Urrutia, who oversees patrol operations and the SWAT team, said Hernandez was shot when he allegedly fired at SWAT officers and a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter.
Desert ambush

The incident began about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when deputies on anti-burglary surveillance spotted Hernandez at his home in the 1500 block of Gwendolyn Drive, Urrutia said. Deputies knew Hernandez was wanted.

When Hernandez left his home, a patrol car attempted to stop him for a traffic violation but he drove into the desert off Ascension Street near Mountain View High School.

Deputies broke off the pursuit as Hernandez fled into the desert but continued to look for him, Urrutia said.

About an hour later, deputies found Hernandez's vehicle parked in the desert, Urrutia said.

As deputies approached the empty vehicle, Hernandez was hiding in the brush and "opened fire on them, they took cover and he fled further into the desert," Urrutia said.

Later, a DPS helicopter spotted Hernandez in the desert allegedly setting up at "a second ambush point," Urrutia said.

Deputies surrounded the area. The sheriff's special weapons and tactics team and crisis negotiators arrived as well as members of the Border Patrol Special Operations Group, constables and Texas DPS troopers.