Off-duty Border Patrol agent intervenes in stabbing incident

MIDLAND — An off-duty Border Patrol agent on Saturday intervened to stop a stabbing incident in Midland.

Bernie Ramirez, an Border Patrol intel officer at the Big Bend Sector headquarters in Marfa, was visiting Midland over the weekend for his nephew’s birthday. Ramirez was shopping with his family at a Sam’s Club in Midland when pandemonium erupted.

Ramirez says he was getting ready to check out when he overheard a nearby argument. He initially assumed it was a pair of panic buyers “fighting over toilet paper,” he said in a phone interview on Monday. Then, he heard a baby crying and a woman screaming. “Right then I knew, something is bad,” he said.

Approaching the melee, Ramirez saw a Sam’s Club employee holding a man in a chokehold. Ramirez identified himself and told the group to break it up.

The Sam’s Club employee told Ramirez that the man had just stabbed multiple people. Ramirez searched the man and restrained him until police arrived.

That man, who Midland police identified as Jose Gomez, remains in custody. He’s accused of stabbing at least three people, including a small child and a Sam’s Club employee who needed around 30 stitches.

Two victims remain in critical condition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release on Saturday. A third is in stable condition at a local medical facility. Some will likely attribute the attack to panic buying, but authorities said on Saturday they do not yet know what led to the stabbing.

In a statement, Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak commended Ramirez for his bravery.

“The quick actions of our Agent ended this shocking situation and clearly saved multiple lives,” he said. “I’m proud of our agents as they are valuable members of our communities. This is another example of how we protect America.”

Ramirez, though, didn’t want to take all the thanks. The Sam’s Club employee had disarmed the attacker with his bare hands, he said.

“I want to give credit where credit’s due,” he said.