San Marcos officer killed in ambush attack was Justin Putnam, a ‘fine young man, a faithful officer and a friend’

San Marcos Police Officer Justin Putnam was killed in the line of duty April 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
San Marcos Police Officer Justin Putnam was killed in the line of duty April 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

San Marcos Police Officer Justin Putnam was killed in the line of duty April 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

San Marcos Interim Police Chief Bob Klett gave more details of the ambush attack that killed Officer Justin Putnam and seriously wounded two other officers on April 18.

Putnam, with fellow officers Justin Mueller and Franco Stewart, entered an apartment at Twin Lake Villas Apartments, 2917 Hunter Road, after a call of domestic violence at 6:05 p.m.

Klett said the suspect, a 34-year-old San Marcos resident, ambushed the officers with a rifle as they entered the apartment.

Klett told reporters at a Sunday morning press conference that the domestic call to 911 was for the suspect hitting his wife and that alcohol was involved. “He was prepared for them to come in and he started firing immediately.”

Klett said the officers were wearing body armor. The SWAT team was called while officers from San Marcos, Texas State University, Hays County Sheriff Department, Buda City Police, Kyle City Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, New Braunfels City Police and constables rushed to the scene.


The SWAT team entered the apartment and found the suspect dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.

Klett credited EMS and firefighters for saving the lives of Mueller and Stewart.

Putnam was 31 years old and had 5 ½ years of experience on the San Marcos police force. He was a graduate of Texas State University. Klett said Putnam is survived by his fiancée and a family with a law enforcement background.

“We lost a fine young man, a faithful officer and a friend” Klett said. “We’ve had a lot of tragedy and we appreciate the prayers.”

Mueller has been a San Marcos police officer for 10 months and Stewart has been with the department for 5 months, serving the McAllen Police Department for two years prior to coming to San Marcos.

Mueller and Stewart were taken to Ascension Seton Hospital in Kyle, where they are now listed in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit, Klett said.

City spokesperson Kristy Stark said details will follow for a fund for the officers’ families. Stark said the community has already shown support in the latest tragedy to hit the department.

This story will be updated as new details are released.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


MOST RECENT

Employees could see a 3% increase in compensation compared to the 2019-20 school year, in addition to other benefits to employees of specific departments.  (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Hays CISD board to vote on increased compensation plans

Employees could see a 3% increase in compensation compared to the 2019-20 school year, in addition to other benefits to employees of specific departments.

Clem Cantu, San Marcos CISD board president, introduced an agenda item for a proposal to temporarily increase the district's hourly pay during the Sept. 21 meeting. (Screen shot courtesy SMCISD)
San Marcos CISD board votes against temporary raise for hourly employees

Hourly employees at San Marcos CISD were looking at a proposed temporary $2 per hour pay bump starting Oct. 1, but the district's budget numbers cannot currently bear the weight of that increase.

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Hays County. (Community Impact staff)
Hays County's active COVID-19 cases and what you should know

It is not known how many active cases of the coronavirus there are in Hays County. This is why.

San Marcos CISD campuses will receive 4,000 classroom dividers this week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
San Marcos CISD updates district officials on in-school learning plans, safety protocols

San Marcos CISD officials received an update on the latest guidelines for in-school learning, which include numerous safety protocols designed to keep COVID-19 positivity rates as low as possible.

City Post is located at 113 E. Eighth St., Georgetown. (Courtesy City Post)
Georgetown to get steakhouse, speakeasy plus more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

School districts in San Marcos, Hays County face the unknown as semesters commence in the fall

Fall semesters began for the campuses within San Marcos CISD and Hays CISD on Sept. 8, as both districts contended with the reality that administrators, teachers and students were swimming in uncharted waters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ampersand owner Elaine Salazar, fourth from right, stands with several members of her team at Ampersand's Buda headquarters. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Buda's Ampersand Art Supply a global leader in surface panels for artists

Salazar’s company, now called Ampersand Art Supply, was born in 1993 as Ampersand. Salazar and three other students at the University of Texas Austin created a business plan for the company.

The Bulgogi Philly is another genre-bending dish at Casa Choi. (Courtesy Casa Choi)
Casa Choi brings fusion of Korean and Mexican cuisine in San Marcos

By combining the hallmarks of Mexican cuisine with the flavors of Korea, owner Jason Choi elevates both with combinations of kimchi, tortillas and bulgogi.

Pflugerville's testing location is operated from 8 a.m.-noon Monday through Saturday where a maximum of 300 people can be tested each day at the site. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Coronavirus testing site in Pflugerville to move and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Central Health administrative building in Austin
Central Health finalizes budget with increased tax rate, more health care services for low-income residents

Local health care district Central Health is budgeting a nearly $20 million increase in health care delivery services for Austin’s low-income residents.

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Baylor Scott & White Health to host 9 Austin-area drive-thru flu shot clinics

"This season is a big, black box, and there are a lot of unknowns, as far as what the season's going to look like," said Dr. Bradley Berg, a BSW pediatrics doctor in Round Rock.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.