San Marcos suspect ‘knew he shot a police officer,’ affidavit says

  • Mark Wilson
  • American-Statesman Staff
Dec 06, 2017
Jay Janner
An American flag flies in the front yard of the house at 177 Valero Drive in San Marcos on Tuesday. Police say the homeowner, Stewart Thomas Mettz, shot and killed San Marcos police officer Kenneth Copeland outside his door on Monday. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

An arrest warrant filed against Stewart Thomas Mettz accuses him of capital murder in the slaying of San Marcos police officer Kenneth Copeland, and provides new details about the shootout Monday that left Copeland dead and Mettz wounded.

The affidavit says Copeland and other officers serving an unrelated warrant for Mettz knocked on his front door in the 100 block of Valero Drive in San Marcos around 2:23 p.m. Monday.

Mettz opened the door and began shooting at them with an unknown caliber weapon, the affidavit says.

Police returned fire and pulled Copeland out of harm’s way after he was shot, according to the document. A fellow officer rushed him to Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos, but Copeland died from his injuries.

The document says Mettz told investigators he shot Copeland two times in his chest, and that he was hit in his left side by an officer who returned fire.

READ MORE: Death of San Marcos officer highlights perils of serving warrants

“It was clear that Mettz knew the person he shot was a police officer,” the affidavit says.

While Mettz received medical care after the shooting, Copeland’s body was taken to the Travis County medical examiner’s office to be examined. The results of the autopsy are still pending.

Authorities shut down Interstate 35 on Tuesday afternoon as Copeland’s body was taken back to San Marcos with a full police escort.

Copeland, a 58-year-old father of four, had worked with the San Marcos Police Department for 19 years.

Before that, Copeland worked as a corrections officer at a state prison in Huntsville from 1982 to 1988, and in Santa Clara County, Calif., from 1988 to 1990. He also served as a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy from 1990 to 1995, and was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran.

According to the Coast Guard, Copeland entered the service as a reservist in 1999. He served two periods of active duty from 2001 to 2002 and 2003 through 2008. Copeland was still in the reserves at the time of his death, and held the rank of E6, petty officer first class.