SMPD shooting suspect described as nice, quiet neighbor
Neighbors of the man who shot and killed San Marcos Police Officer Ken Copeland are shocked by the scene that unfolded outside of their homes Monday night.
The red and blue police lights feel out of place for residents in the El Camino Real subdivision in San Marcos. Residents who know the suspect say they're confused that the seemingly nice, quiet neighbor known for his immaculate yard is the same person who allegedly shot and killed Copeland.
Police have not identified the suspect, but residents of the neighborhood say the man who shot Officer Copeland is 51-year-old Stewart Mettz, a homeowner on Valero Drive and disabled veteran. He had two outstanding arrest warrants -- injury to elderly and assault to a family member.
People up and down Valero Drive are still grappling with the violence that occurred in their neighborhood.
"It's bad enough to kill a human being, but a policeman? They're here to protect us," says neighbor Raymond Villegas.
Stephanie and Jason McGlothlin were home when shots rang out down the street.
"I heard a short blast of gunshots but you know how it is. You're at your house. You never think that that's exactly what you heard. You're like, '...could that have been?' But you don't know," says Jason McGlothlin. He saw commotion when he looked out the window.
"I just see police running back-and-forth and cars going back and forth," McGlothlin recalls.
San Marcos Police says the suspect was shooting at officers serving a warrant in what felt like an ambush. It's the last thing people say they'd expect from a man who they describe as a nice neighbor, retired military and frequent winner of yard of the month.
"We all saw him as normal. Him and his wife would walk the dogs up and down the street and ride bikes up and down the street. We'd talk to them in our garage, and they both seemed pretty normal for the most part so it was really unexpected," says Stephanie McGlothlin.
It's an unexpected tragedy that's left both the police department and the community in pain and disbelief.
"It's sad. It's a sad day for San Marcos and a sad day for the San Marcos Police Department," says Villegas.
Mettz was taken into custody after the deadly shooting following a SWAT standoff. He was also shot, but police say it's unclear if he was shot by an officer or if it was self-inflicted. He remains in fair condition at an Austin hospital.