Off-Duty Officer Killed Trying to Break Up Brawl at IHOP Restaurant in Texas

An investigation has been launched in Texas after an off-duty San Antonio Independent School District officer was found dead after being run over by a car.

The officer was pronounced dead at the scene after police responded to an IHOP in the 1000 block off Hot Wells Boulevard shortly before 4 a.m., KENS5 reported. The officer, named Cliff Martinez, was allegedly targeted while trying to break up a fight between two men.

The victim was working security at the time of the altercation, with the situation allegedly escalating after the fight spilled out into the parking lot.

According to WOAI-TV, the officer got caught up in the fight and was assaulted. He was run over and pinned beneath the vehicle as the suspects attempted to leave the scene, the media outlet reported.

The San Antonio Police Department told Newsweek: "South Patrol officers were dispatched to the location for a fight inside the IHOP restaurant.

"When they arrived, they found V1, in uniform and working a side job, pinned underneath a vehicle in the parking lot. Several suspects and witnesses were detained at the scene.

"EMS arrived and pronounced V1 deceased. It was determined V1 was attempting to break up a fight inside the IHOP and may have been assaulted. The incident spilled out into the parking lot where V1 was struck by a vehicle occupied by the individuals who were fighting."

The police department spokesperson told Newsweek that "several individuals" are now speaking with detectives and said it remains an ongoing investigation.

Emergency Response
Stock photo of an emergency response. An off-duty San Antonio Independent School District officer was found dead after being run over by a car on Saturday. iStock

San Antonio ISD told KSAT: "[We are] deeply saddened to learn of the death of our Detective Cliff Martinez early this morning, while working off-duty at an IHOP. He was a highly-respected member of the SAISD Police Department, who worked for the department for 28 years. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

According to the ISD website, its officers are commissioned as "peace officers" by the Board of Trustees and are considered a licensed authority of the State of Texas.

"They have full arrest powers and all rights, privileges and immunities similar to municipal police officers," the ISD website explains. "These officers remain at the school during the day. Other officers work daylight, afternoon and night patrol. The focus of all officers is to work as a positive influence to children and protect the schools by providing a safe learning environment."

No information about the suspects has been released and it remains unknown what sparked the confrontation. Images from the scene showed paramedics and a heavy police presence.

Earlier this month in Texas, a Nassau Bay police officer was killed being knocked to the ground by a car being driven by a 21-year-old fugitive identified during a traffic stop. The suspect, Tavores Dewayne Henderson, was taken into custody December 12 on a murder charge.

The deceased officer was identified as Sgt. Kaila Sullivan. "She was a police officer at heart," Nassau Bay Police Chief Tim Cromie said after the death, KXAS reported. "She came to work every day, she enjoyed the job. "Her blood ran blue. She was a police officer's police officer."