A Caldwell County sheriff’s deputy was seriously wounded early Friday while responding to a reported theft at a home just outside of Dale, an unincorporated community about 25 miles southeast of Austin.
The sheriff’s office and the Texas Rangers, who are now heading the investigation, have arrested and questioned two people, but they have not yet publicly identified them. The Texas Department of Public Safety said charges against the two people are pending.
The deputy, whose name also has not been released, was in stable condition after surgery at a Central Texas hospital.
According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, deputies had responded to the theft report at about midnight at a residence on Hidden Oak Road in northern Caldwell County. After deputies arrived, they came under fire and one deputy was shot multiple times, the sheriff’s office said.
A neighbor who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting said he heard four gunshots. He didn’t think too much of it, he said, because gunshots are normal in the area. So he stayed in bed.
“What woke me up was the lights, officer lights,” said Joe Delacruz, who has lived in the area for a little more than five years.
Neighbors said a woman, her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend and two grandchildren live in the home.
“I haven’t had any problem” with them, Delacruz said. “They were kind of quiet. They stayed to themselves.”
He said he was sorry to hear about what happened to the deputy and that his thoughts and prayers were with him and his family.
Delacruz said he has regularly heard gunfire in the area, but said he thinks it comes from people target practicing.
“They’re just firing their weapons, because you might hear several shots out toward the east and then some out toward the west and then some toward the north,” he said. “And they’re not just one shot or two shots. It’s like you’re in a firing range.”
The incident in Caldwell County is the third time since November that Central Texas law enforcement officers have been targeted by gunfire.
On Nov. 24, 28-year-old Hays County sheriff’s Deputy Benjamin Gieselman was wounded when a man, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Rocky Miles West, fired at officers responding to a robbery call near Wimberley.
West was later found dead near the scene with gunshot wounds.
Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said the incident, during which deputies fired back and likely killed West, appeared to be an ambush.
About three weeks later, the city of San Marcos mourned its first loss of a police officer in the line of duty.
Officer Kenneth Copeland, a 58-year-old father of four, was killed Dec. 4 while serving a warrant on Stewart Thomas Mettz, 51, who is now accused of capital murder in the fatal shooting.