Texas Campground Standoff Ends; Suspect Shot
A standoff between an armed man and local, state and federal law enforcement officers ended near a Lake Amistad, Texas, campground Saturday afternoon (Feb. 13) when the man was shot, according to the Del Rio News-Herald.
Chase Hebrelie, 28, a resident of Missouri, surrendered after he was shot in the right arm by one of the law enforcement officers who surrounded him in a brushy area near the San Pedro Group Campground inside the Amistad National Recreation Area, police at the scene said.
The lakeside standoff was preceded by a chase, which began with a call to Del Rio police about a suspicious vehicle near the Del Rio Honda store about 10 a.m. Saturday, said Del Rio Police Department Capt. Bill Rattay.
Rattay said when DRPD Officer Brian Maldonado arrived in the area and found the vehicle, a silver Mercury Gran Marquis, he ran a check on the vehicle’s license plate and learned that the car had been reported stolen in Missouri.
Rattay said officers also learned there was a possibility there were weapons in the car. “As soon as the officers lit him up, the chase was on,” Rattay said.
The driver of the Gran Marquis, later identified as Hebrelie, led police on a chase through the back streets of the city’s west side before turning onto Veterans Boulevard and heading north.
Rattay said the car turned east onto Braddie Drive, then into the parking lot of Sutherland’s and from there into the parking lot of Wal-Mart before turning west, then north back onto Veterans Boulevard.
Rattay said although each aspect of the chase is still being reviewed in detail, he confirmed that somewhere in the area of Sutherland’s, Hebrelie fired “several shots” at the pursuing police vehicles.
Also somewhere in the vicinity of Sutherland’s, one of the Gran Marquis’ tires blew out, possibly the result of impact with a curb, Rattay said.
The Gran Marquis continued north out of the Del Rio city limits, with DRPD patrol cars in pursuit. West of the “Y” intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and U.S. Highway 277, Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety patrol cars joined the chase.
The Gran Marquis, trailing a line of patrol cars, continued west on U.S. Highway 90, then turned onto Spur 454, a route that took the car into the Amistad National Recreation Area. From there, the car turned onto the road leading to the park’s San Pedro Campground area.
That road makes a long loop as it passes several primitive camping areas. At the far north end of the road, the Gran Marquis turned onto a gravel and caliche road leading to the San Pedro Group Campground. At the far end of that road, Hebrelie finally brought the Gran Marquis to a stop.
Hebrelie and a female passenger, identified as Kaitlin Martin, no age or address available at press time, got out of the vehicle and ran into the dense brush surrounding the campground.
Law enforcement officers, now including National Park Service rangers and U.S. Border Patrol agents, followed closely. Several pulled shotguns from racks inside their patrol cars and quickly made their way into the mesquite and cactus strewn area around the campground.
Other officers stayed along the dirt road in case Hebrelie and the woman managed to elude the pursuers in the brush and circled back in an attempt to return to their car. The officers used their cars as shields as they kept watch on the brush into which Hebrelie had fled.
A Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter joined the search, circling low overhead and providing direction to the officers searching on the ground.
Rattay said some of the officers who followed Hebrelie and the woman into the brush found the pair in a small clearing and quickly converged on the spot. Other lawmen evacuated several campers using the San Pedro area.
The standoff began when Hebrelie held a pistol to his head.
Rattay said he called fellow DRPD Capt. Antonio Becerra, a trained negotiator, in an attempt to convince Hebrelie to surrender without injuring himself or anyone else.
More officers, including a cadre of Texas Rangers, arrived on the scene as the negotiations were in progress.
Rattay said toward the end of the 3 1/2 hours of negotiations, one of officers at the scene shot Hebrelie in the arm.
“At one point in the conversation, Hebrelie was shot. All I can tell is that it was not one of the DRPD officers that shot him,” Rattay said Saturday night.
About 2:30 p.m., DRPD Lt. Steve Webb left the San Pedro Campground area with the woman in the “cage” of his patrol car. About 10 minutes later, an ambulance carrying Hebrelie made its way out of the San Pedro Campground area and headed back toward Del Rio.
Rattay confirmed that Hebrelie was taken to the emergency room at Val Verde Regional Medical Center and later transferred to a San Antonio hospital for treatment of the gunshot wound.
Rattay said Hebrelie has been charged with the offense of evading arrest using a vehicle, a state jail felony. Rattay added that other charges may be filed.
Hebrelie’s female companion, Martin, has been charged with the offense of possession of stolen property, a state jail felony.
“Additional charges may be filed on her as well, as we develop things and find out what her full role is,” Rattay said.
None of the local, state or federal officers involved in the chase or in the standoff was injured, though more than a few nerves were rattled.
“When I get home tonight, I’m going to give my kids a really big hug,” said one of the officers leaving the campground.