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Van Zandt Co. burglary suspect killed by victim's son

VAN ZANDT CO., January 22, 2014— The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office has asked the law abiding citizens of Van Zandt County to assist in combating the crime problem in rural Van Zandt County – especially as it relates to rural property crimes such as residential burglaries and thefts.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jan. 21,  a Precinct 2 Van Zandt County homeowner was awakened to observe an individual in the homeowner’s front yard, burglarizing his pickup truck, which was parked in the front yard near his house.

The homeowner approached the burglary suspect with a rifle intending to hold him until law enforcement could arrive. The suspect suddenly fled the scene, which caused the property owner to fire shots at the fleeing suspect. The homeowner also observed a Dodge pickup and flatbed trailer parked in the dark on the roadway near his residence, which he believed belonged to the suspect.

The homeowner observed the pickup truck with the engine to be running and the keys in the ignition. Attempting to prevent the suspect from fleeing the scene, he entered the suspect’s vehicle, turned the motor off, and removed the ignition keys. The homeowner was again suddenly confronted by the suspect and, during an ensuing confrontation, the burglar disarmed the homeowner, subsequently assaulting him with his own rifle.

The homeowner’s son, who had been awakened by the gunshots, observed the young, male suspect raising the victim’s rifle and, fearing the suspect was about to shoot his father, the son shot the suspect, killing him instantly.

Van Zandt County Sheriff Michael Lindsey Ray stated, “We are a nation of laws. Our law protects the law abiding citizens of our nation. It is unfortunate that a young man had to die this morning in our community, because of a bad decision he made to violate the rights of a law abiding citizen. 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 investigation, conducted by the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, the Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Rangers, the Precinct 2 Constable’s Office, and the Van Zandt County Fire Marshall will be forwarded to the Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorney’s Office for Grand Jury referral. 

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