McLennan County, TX — McLennan County Commissioners have approved Sheriff Parnell McNamara's request to purchase 19 AR-15 style rifles for the sheriff’s department.
“These are very easily handled inside a vehicle and are high capacity,” said McNamara.
McNamara says it’s been a topic that his office has discussed for the past six weeks, and he was actually “surprised deputies didn’t already have these” when he took office.
A dangerous shooting incident in February, McNamara says, really solidified the need to better arm patrol deputies. McNamara says they responded to an armed man in a neighborhood near the Brazos River, just over the county line by Bosque County, around 1 a.m. one morning in February. This man reportedly shot up a woman’s house, while she was inside with her six and seven-year-old children.
“He shot multiple rounds through the front door and rooms,” said McNamara.
The man had also reportedly shot up a neighbor’s vehicle and was still shooting when deputies arrived.
“This guy had gone haywire for whatever reason,” said McNamara.
A patrol deputy finally managed to get the man disarmed. The deputy only had a pistol while the man reportedly had a 12 gage shotgun, a semi-automatic handgun, and an AR-15 rifle.
“Right now, they have handguns and shotguns. But, there’s certain circumstances and situations where a handgun and a shotgun is not enough, or they’re not well suited, as a rifle would be,” said McNamara.
McNamara says he’s looking to spend about 19-thousand dollars on the 19 rifles. He says the department already has the money to cover the cost. $18,500 is available through an insurance claim from a wreck on one of the department’s vehicles. McNamara says the department also has $650 to match the other money. At this point, McNamara says the added weapons are more necessary than replacing the wrecked vehicle, as the department already has extra units.
At this point, the rifles would go into patrol units. Eventually, the sheriff’s department would want to incorporate them into the Criminal Investigations Division. The SWAT officers, McNamara says, are doing well on weapons.
McNamara anticipates the guns would not be immediately available to them, due to the backorder on weapons and ammunition across the country right now.