MCALLEN, Texas – Tributes have poured in for two McAllen police officers who were shot and killed on Saturday afternoon.

The officers were fatally shot on Saturday by a man who later killed himself after they responded to a domestic disturbance call in McAllen, Texas, the New York Times reports.

Chief Victor Rodriguez of the McAllen Police Department identified the officers as Edelmiro Garza, 45, and Ismael Chavez, 39.

“These are entirely very difficult, difficult moments,” Chief Rodriguez said at a news conference. “The officers came here to maintain peace. Instead, they were taken down by gunfire. The next few days for us moving forward as well will be very difficult for ourselves at the department, at the city of McAllen, but our strength will get us through.”

Officers Garza and Chavez met around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday with two people who reported “a disturbance, maybe some assaults” that had taken place at the house where the officers were later shot, Chief Rodriguez said.

Click here to read the full story by reporter Allyson Waller in The New York Times.

“Today, two McAllen Police officers were killed in the line of duty. The City of McAllen extends its deepest condolences to the McAllen Police Department and to the families of Officer Edelmiro Garza and Officer Ismael Chavez. Our City is hurting and our hearts and prayers go out to them during this difficult time,” said the City of McAllen government, in a statement.

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said: “It’s with a heavy heart, I share the terrible news that today we lost two of our brave McAllen Police Officers. My deepest condolences and sympathies go out to the families of Officers Edelmiro Garza and Ismael Chavez. I ask for prayers for their loved ones during this difficult time.”

McAllen Police Department has set up a memorial for mourners to drop off flowers or small keepsakes to keep their memories alive.

The McAllen Police Association Executive Board issued this statement:

“We, the McAllen Police Association Executive Board, wish extend our condolences to the Families of our two Fallen Brothers, Officers Edelmiro “Eddie” Garza and Ismael Chavez. Both men were of exceptional moral character and professionalism. They both possessed a servant’s heart, which showed in their choice of profession. 

“To serve as a Peace Officer is a taxing, grueling job, which seldom yields praise or thanks from those we choose to serve. Such a person, requires neither praise nor thanks in order to do their job, rather they find joy knowing that each and every day they made some small difference in the world, and they get to do the same each and every day. Eddie and Ismael were two such men, it was an honor and a privilege to call these men our Brothers in Blue. 

“We pray that our Lord Jesus has welcomed them into his Kingdom and are resting in eternal peace. Leave your worries behind brothers, your duty is done, your shift has ended, you have served honorably. You have a left a legacy for the rest of us to follow. May we serve as well as you, so that we may honor your memories. You will be missed.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:13.”

State Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen requested Gov. Greg Abbott have flags in the Rio Grande Valley flown at half-staff to show the community’s respect and to honor the lives and public service officers Garza and Chavez. 

“Our community is mourning the senseless and tragic shooting of officers Garza and Chavez who lost their lives working to keep our community safe. We are forever indebted to their service and owe an immeasurable debt to their families for their suffering, pain, and heartache caused by the loss of their loved one,” Hinojosa said.

State Rep. R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra of McAllen said: “God bless the families of the two McAllen Police Department officers who lost their lives in the line of duty today. Our hearts go out to the entire police department during this tragic time.”

Officer Chavez previously worked for Weslaco ISD. The school district issued this statement: 

“The Weslaco ISD family is mourning the loss of former science teacher and football coach Ismael Chavez. Before he started his career in law enforcement for the McAllen Police Department, Chavez was part of the staff at Weslaco East High School. He was employed by WISD, for approximately nine years. Today Chavez and Officer Edelmiro Garza were tragically killed in the line of duty. Our deepest condolences go out to the families.”

State Rep. Armando Martinez of Weslaco said: “We are saddened by the loss of two heroes who served to protect others. Our most sincere condolences to the families of Officers Chavez and Garza who lost their lives in the line of duty. May the Lord bless and comfort their families during this difficult time. May they rest in eternal peace.”

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño said: “We are saddened to hear the tragic loss of life of two officers from the McAllen Police Department. To the family, friends, brothers and sisters in law enforcement, I extend to you my heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences in this very difficult time.”