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Monday, October 20, 2014 - 11:06am

ETX man shoots at deputy, claims body in home during arrest

ETX man shoots at deputy, claims body in home during arrest
Van Zandt County Jail
CrimeWatch

POSTED: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 1:41pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 4:03pm

An East Texas man is in law enforcement custody after he allegedly shot at a deputy and later claimed to have a body in his home.

On Sunday at 2:50 p.m., a Van Zandt County deputy arrived at a home located at 350 Van Zandt County Road 2140 in Canton, in response to a criminal trespass complaint. The caller was later identified as Stephen Garrett Martin.

Shortly after arriving at the house, and before he was able to get out of the patrol car, a deputy heard a loud noise coming from what he believed to be the front of the home. At the same time, he saw a dog lying on the front porch of the house jump up and run away quickly. The deputy then heard a second loud noise coming from the residence and suddenly felt a violent vibration coming from the front bumper area of his patrol car. It was later determined bullets hit the vehicle.

The deputy glanced at the front doorway and saw Martin standing with a handgun. He realized Martin was shooting at him, and reversed his patrol car to get away from the gunfire. The deputy accelerated toward County Road 2140 until his patrol car backed into a metal gate, a fence post and a barbed wire fence near the entrance on the property.

Martin, who was on the front porch still holding the handgun, was ordered to put the gun down and his hands up. The suspect followed the commands and was the told to walk toward the officer. He was taken into custody without further incident.

The deputy found a second, fully loaded handgun hidden in the waistband of Martin's pants.

During his arrest, the suspect told deputies there was a body inside his home and also stated there were two men in camouflage hiding in the trees in his front yard, one on each side of the driveway. When additional law enforcement arrived, they swept the area and determined there was not a body inside the home and no other people were in the area.

Deputies and police officers found numerous weapons inside the home and also discovered the interior of the home had been damaged by by firearms.

Martin was taken to the Van Zandt County Jail for attempted capital murder of a peace officer. The house was secured by deputies of the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office pending the issuance of an evidentiary search warrant. Following the issuance of the search warrant, deputies entered the home and seize a large cache of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Sheriff Michael Lindsey Ray stated, “There are many individuals living within our communities who are suffering from emotional issues, mental health issues or anger issues. Some of these individuals are very dangerous. Law enforcement agencies are struggling with how to deal with these individuals who need to be in mental health hospitals, but because of mental health budgetary issues end up being incarcerated in county jails all over the state.” Officers were able to arrest Martin without using deadly force.

Recently the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Canton Police Department conducted a sixty-hour Basic SWAT training school and a second school has been scheduled for July. 

Sheriff Ray stated, “Unfortunately our peace officers are encountering more and more of these types of dangerous situations so we are now training them in the use of special weapons and tactics for officer safety and there is a great demand for this training from area law enforcement agencies.”

Ray continued, “At the end of the day, my job is to make sure that the men and women who work for the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office go home safely to their families at the end of their shifts, I take that responsibility very seriously.” Numerous local and state agencies rushed to the aid of the deputy. Because officers believe one of the weapons seized at the residence has been altered to function as a fully automatic weapon, the Sheriff’s Office has requested the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
for assistance with the criminal investigation.

Following arraignment, Martin remains in custody pending a $1 million, with conditions, set by the Honorable Judge Don Kirkpatrick, Justice Precinct One.   

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