Suspects dead after standoff involving stolen police SUV

ITALY — Two young men are dead after a standoff with police following the theft of an Italy police vehicle during a traffic stop Tuesday night.

An Italy police officer conducted a traffic stop on a 1999 Saab near State Highway 34 and IH 35E at approximately 8:34 p.m. Tuesday according to a press release issued by Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Lonny Haschel.

"During the stop the officer attempted to take the two occupants of the Saab into custody. The suspects assaulted the officer injuring him and stole the Italy Police Department Chevrolet Tahoe," Haschel wrote.

According to a WFAA report, the suspects were identified by Italy PD as Miguel Martinez, 19, and Daniel Dankert, 23.

"A lengthy pursuit ensued, traversing numerous roadways in southern Ellis County involving Ellis County Sheriff’s Deputies, Milford Police, Italy Police and Texas Highway Patrol Troopers," Haschel wrote.

After travelling north in the southbound lanes, Martinez stopped the Tahoe on southbound IH 35E south of Forreston Road (FM 329) at approximately 11:15 p.m.

A police negotiator communicated with Martinez over police radio while thousands of people around the U.S. listened in via online police scanner audio feeds.

During the standoff, Martinez threatened to kill Dankert followed by his own suicide before threatening to shoot at the officers.

Haschel said officers heard a gunshot inside the Tahoe followed by Martinez exiting the vehicle with a firearm. Officers opened fire, killing Martinez at the scene shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday. Dankert was found dead in the passenger seat in an apparent suicide.

The Italy officer who conducted the initial stop was not seriously injured and no other officers were injured during the incident.

Both directions of IH 35E were closed Wednesday morning while officers conducted an investigation. The highway was reopened at approximately 10 a.m.

Haschel said the incident is being investigated by the Texas Rangers.

AUDIO: Listen to the nearly three hours of police negotiations with the suspects. WARNING — The events in the audio are disturbing.