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Man shot, killed by deputy
by Gary Kent and Lindsey Shaffer
Jan 09, 2014 | 255 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – An investigation into the shooting death of a 51-year-old Beeville man is still underway, said a public information officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Local Ranger James Bennett is in charge of the probe into the shooting.

The man, identified as Jerry DeLaGarza, was shot and killed by Bee County deputies after a car chase on Saturday.

According to reports, DeLaGarza was being pursued after he assaulted his wife with a knife in Bee County earlier that day.

The man was shot after he reportedly ran his vehicle into a deputy’s car near the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Farm-to-Market Road 351 west of the city.

Law enforcement officers had been looking for DeLaGarza since earlier that day after the domestic dispute was reported.

Family friends said he had stabbed his wife with a knife before fleeing their home.

The shooting took place later on U.S. Highway 59 west of the city after a deputy from Live Oak County followed DeLaGarza into Bee County.

Sheriff Larry Busby’s office in Live Oak County reportedly was notified of the search for the suspect just before 3 p.m. Saturday.

According to that same report, U.S. marshals notified area law enforcement agencies at about 3 p.m. that the suspect’s green Hummer had been spotted on a county road west of Bee County.

Busby said that a dispatch radioed a warning and a vehicle description to officers in the surrounding counties, about 2:37 p.m.

A Live Oak County deputy located the man around 3:20 p.m. and was in pursuit of the green Hummer he was driving. According to Busby, the officer told dispatch that the subject blew through an intersection going about 85 mph and would not stop the vehicle.

The subject began to douse himself in diesel, a substance that the officers thought was gasoline.

“The subject starting pouring diesel all over himself and his car, then threw the cans out the window,” Busby said. “It was blowing back at the officers and they thought it was gasoline, so they backed off a little.”

As officers were in pursuit, the subject began driving erratically, swerving in and out of both lanes “like he was going to hit an oncoming car.”

Busby said that spikes were set up in Bee County, in the direction of which the subject was traveling, along with a roadblock to help end the chase.

“He hit the spikes and his tires went flat but he kept driving,” Busby said. “He started trying to light the diesel but it wouldn’t catch.”

As the man attempted to light himself on fire, he ran into the roadblock set up by Bee County officers and rammed into a deputy’s vehicle. Officers then opened fire, shooting and killing the subject.

One report said Deputy Lt. Ronnie Jones, with the Bee County Sheriff’s Office, reported that deputies fired numerous shots at the suspect as he sat in his vehicle. Jones did not say if officers found a weapon in the vehicle.

“The chase started and ended in Bee County,” Busby said. “We just ended up finding him and chasing him through Live Oak County.”

Busby also said the subject had violated his parole, and had previously spent time in prison for assault.

Jones confirmed that several deputies were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by Texas Rangers.

Placing the deputies on leave is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting.

He did not release the names of those deputies.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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