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Man shot and killed in confrontation with Levelland police

A man who was shot during a confrontation with Levelland police died a short time later Friday morning.

Jose Antonio Espinoza Ruiz, 55, died at about 8 a.m. in the emergency room at Covenant Hospital Levelland.

Justice of the Peace Brenda Nock arrived at the hospital later, pronounced him dead and ordered an autopsy.

The two officers who confronted Ruiz were not injured.

Both men have been placed on administrative leave with pay for the time being, said Police Chief Toney Cowan.

The Texas Rangers were called in on the incident and are investigating it.

The circumstances leading to the shooting started shortly after 7 a.m., when a police dispatcher received a 911 call from a woman on a cell phone.

She was ‘extremely upset and screaming on the phone,’ according to a call sheet released by Levelland police.

The caller did not respond to any questions asked by the dispatcher.

The call was ‘pinged’ to 15th Street and Avenue A.

The two officers, who had just started their shift a short time earlier, arrived at the residence.

Both officers fired their weapons outside the home when they were confronted by Ruiz. He allegedly threatened them ‘with a weapon’ that Cowan described as a knife. 

He declined to say how many times the officers fired their handguns.

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