Woman freed, man killed during standoff

Law enforcement responded to the scene of a standoff in which a woman was held hostage for neartly 17 hours on East Depot Street in Refugio on April 7. (Michelle Myers photo)

REFUGIO – A standoff spanning nearly 17 hours ended with a female hostage being safely freed and the man who held her captive at gunpoint being fatally shot by law enforcement.

The incident, which began  shortly before 2:30 a.m. April 7, took place on Depot Street not far from the Stripes convenience store in Refugio.

The man who was killed during the incident was identified as Dewayne Curtis Lafond, 45.

Officers with the Refugio Police Department, Refugio County Sheriff’s Office, Beeville Police Department, Bee County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety all responded to the standoff.

At about 7:30 p.m., “Texas DPS Special Response teams tactically approached the residence and made entry resulting in an officer-involved shooting where Lafond was fatally shot. The victim was safely extracted and was unharmed. The active investigation is being handled by the Texas Rangers,” said Refugio Police Chief Enrique Diaz Jr.

The first call to law enforcement was received at 2:26 a.m. by Refugio County Sheriff’s Office Communications when a woman called 9-1-1 and said there was a man with a gun inside her house at 109 E. Depot St.

About a minute later, law enforcement received a second call from a neighbor who reported hearing several gunshots.

Quickly responding to the call were Refugio Sheriff’s deputies James Longoria and Sgt. Jeff Raymond and Refugio Police Officer Tammy Gregory.

Officers noticed the door to the house was open, went inside and announced their presence to those inside, according to a Refugio Police report.

“Responding officers then heard a male subject’s voice say something to the extent of ‘if you come any closer, I will shoot her’,” Diaz said. “Officers retreated from the front area of the residence and took cover behind a vehicle parked in the driveway. Officers reported to communications that they had a hostage situation.”

Shortly thereafter, police at the scene notified Chief Diaz, who went to the scene.

Lafond had barricaded himself inside, Diaz said, so officers contained the area and evacuated nearby residents for their safety.

At that point, other police agencies were contacted to help respond to the situation.

“Texas DPS hostage negotiators attempted to negotiate with Lafond aiming for a peaceful resolution which was unsuccessful,” Diaz said.

Refugio County Sheriff Pinky Gonzales said that Lafond told officers he wasn’t going to surrender and that he didn’t want to go to prison.

The scene was turned over to the DPS’ Texas Rangers division.

Diaz voiced his appreciation for the law enforcement who responded to the standoff.

“The Refugio Police Department would like to extend their sincere thanks to the members of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Beeville Police Department, Bee County Sheriff’s Office and the Refugio Sheriff’s Office for their assistance and dedication in helping resolve a volatile situation,” Diaz said.

Jeff Osborne is editor of the Refugio County Press.

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