Texas has seen more than its share of carnage, especially in recent weeks in a pair of towns miles apart.
That includes the deadly shooting at a church just a few miles south of the Guadalupe County line in 2017.
Recently, local law enforcement officers received delivery of a little help that might better equip them to respond to an out-of-control person trying to harm others, a lieutenant with the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office said.
Late last week, the sheriff’s office took delivery of 20 new rifles Guadalupe County Commissioners Court approved for purchase a couple months ago. The TSR-15 SBR — an AR15 variant — rifles from TRIARC Systems are designed to very stringent specifications for the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team to replace longer, less easily maneuverable rifles the SWAT team previously carried, narcotics Lt. John A. Flores said.
“A good example of why these weapons were purchased is what happened in Midland and Odessa,” he said. “The reason why is because it’s a shorter weapon and more easily maneuverable. They’re designed for entering homes, not shooting at a distance, but that weapon can shoot out at a distance. We tailored them for narcotics and SWAT use.”
Of course, the lieutenant’s mention of Midland and Odessa pertains to last week’s mass shooting in which a man drove around the closely-related Texas towns firing an assault-style weapon at random people, killing at least seven and wounding many more.
TRIARC Systems manufactured the county’s new rifles and delivered them Aug. 30. TRIARC CEO/Owner Christopher Reeves, a retired Army veteran, designed the guns to perform with high mobility, to be effective in close quarters and to provide a fluid motion, he said.
“This falls under our ‘tailored solution,’” Reeves said. “It’s tailored to their mission set. That’s what we specialize in.”
Every law enforcement agency is different and needs weapons designed for different purposes, he said. He designs weapons differently for agencies in cities from those in more rural areas and correspondingly different for everything in between, Reeves said.
TRIARC provided local LEOs with a weapons system that includes suppressors, shorter barrels, a sling, magazines, laser sighting equipment, lights, an infrared illuminator and more, Reeves said.
The county purchased the “top-of-the-line” weapons system with money from an asset forfeiture fund, Flores said. The weapons are expected to be issued to members of the narcotics unit and SWAT team, but not until each member qualifies at the range using the system, he said.
A small contingent of sheriff’s deputies gathered last Friday to check out the new weapons. They gave them a good once over before taking them to a gun range to break them in.
Testing the guns is very important, said Sgt. Russell Koehler, the sheriff’s firearms coordinator.
“We’re test firing them to make sure they’re going to be reliable,” he said. “Firearms are machines like anything else, like a car.”
Proper functioning weapons can be crucial. It can be the difference between life and death.
The new weapons could help even the odds in the event local first responders are called to respond to dangerous situations, Flores said. The bad guys carry high-capacity weapons with fire power that often out matches the good guys, he said.
Hopefully the expenditure Guadalupe County Commissioners Court approved in May will swing the tide the good guys’ way, Flores said.
“Going up against a guy with an AR-15 versus (me being armed with) a pistol, we’re losing,” he said. “He’s got the reach on us by 100 yards.
“The military trains their soldiers to be accurate with those weapons up to 300 yards. With a handgun, we can’t even get close to that.”