POSTED: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 7:21pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 5:08pm
Van Zandt County, Texas — The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office is asking for assistance in combating a crime problem in the rural area of the county.
Early Tuesday morning, a Van Zandt County homeowner was awakened to find someone in his front yard trying to steal his pickup truck which was parked in the front yard near his home.
The homeowner approached the burglary suspect with a rifle intending to hold him until law enforcement could arrive when the suspect suddenly fled the scene. This caused the homeowner to fire his gun at the fleeing suspect. The homeowner says he saw a Dodge pickup and flatbed trailer parked in the dark on the roadway near his home which he believed belonged to the suspect.
The homeowner also says he saw the suspects truck was running and the keys were in the ignition.
Attempting to prevent the suspect from fleeing from the scene, he entered the suspect's vehicle, turned the motor off, and took the keys from the vehicle.
The suspect confronted the homeowner and during the confrontation, the burglar disarmed the homeowner and assaulted him with his own rifle.
The homeowner's son had been awakened by the gunshots and saw the suspect raising the victim's rifle and feared the man was about to shoot his father. The son then fire his own firearm and shot the burglar. The burglar died instantly.
Van Zandt County Sheriff, Michael Lindsey Ray stated, "We are a nation of laws. Our Law protects the Law Abiding Citizen of our nation. It is unfortunate that a young man had to die this morning our community because of a bad decision he made to violate the rights of a law abiding citizen," said Ray. "This Sheriff's Office will always support the Law Abiding Citizens of this community when they are proactively protecting their lives, liberty, and property. Especially during a lawful use of force situation."
The case is being investigated by the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office, the Van Zandt Criminal District Attorney's Office, the Texas Rangers, the Precinct 2 Constables Office, and the Van Zandt County Fire Marshal. It will be forwarded to the Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorneys' Office for grand jury referral.