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Remembering SMPD officer Kenneth Copeland, shot and killed in the line of duty

Officer Copeland is survived by his wife, Sheila, and four sons (Nile, Noah, James and Jonah).(Photo courtesy: San Marcos Police Department)

Officer Kenneth Copeland, 58, and other SMPD officers were serving a warrant in the El Camino Real subdivision Monday afternoon when the suspect shot him multiple times. Copeland was wearing his protective vest and was immediately transported to Central Texas Medical Center.

“Ken is a true hero,” said Chief of Police Chase Stapp. “Our hearts are broken from the loss of not only a dedicated officer but also a phenomenal person and father.”

Officer Copeland was pronounced decease at 3:50 p.m. by Justice of the Peace JoAnne Prado.

Copeland joined the department March 30, 1998, and served SMPD for 19 years, 9 months as a Police Officer.

Born in Houma, Louisiana to Nile and Theo Copeland. He had two brothers, David and Robert Copeland and one sister, Jennifer Copeland Hudd. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, and four sons (Nile, Noah, James and Jonah).

After joining the San Marcos Police Department in March 1998, Officer Copeland took the oath of office on July 29, 1998, where he held a Master Peace Officer certification from TCOLE.

He worked as a corrections officer with the Texas Department of Corrections in Huntsville from 1982-1988, served as corrections officer with Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA 1988-1990, and was Deputy Sheriff with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office 1990-1995.

Officer Copeland still served on active duty with the U. S. Coast Guard, Corpus Christi sector which included duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“This is a time of great loss and mourning for our community,” said Mayor John Thomaides. “It is also a time for us to come together and support each other in the aftermath of this tragedy. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Officer’s Copeland’s family and fellow officers.”

A suspect is in custody following a standoff with the San Marcos/Hays County SWAT. The suspect was shot during the standoff and was transported to an Austin hospital. No further information on the suspect or the standoff is available pending the active criminal investigation.

This is the first line-of-duty death in the department’s history.

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