FLINT, Texas (KLTV) - Smith County Deputies are investigating a shooting involving a homeowner who deputies say shot and injured a burglary suspect.
The incident happened shortly before 1 a.m. at a home along the 15000 block of Brookstone Drive in Flint.
“I woke to gunshots, several in rapid succession, jumped up, got my clothes on, came out, got my flashlight and my weapon and to see my neighbor who was yelling at me to come over and to help,” recalled Stewart Parris, of last night’s incident.
According to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, the homeowner stated he arrived home from work when he observed a vehicle pull up to the front of his house with the lights off and several males exit the vehicle. He then observed the males walking around his vehicle, which was parked in his driveway. The homeowner believed that the suspects were trying to break into his car.
The sheriff’s office said the homeowner exited his home armed with a firearm and fired several shots into the air. At this time, the suspects fled the area on foot in a northwest direction. The homeowner then retreated into his home to call 911 as the suspect vehicle pulled away from his residence headed toward the dead-end road where the suspects had fled on foot.
“They jumped into their car — which in fact is stolen — and they sped away,” said Parris. “Unfortunately, they came by here, this direction, which is a cul-de-sac; it’s a dead end. They were pretty much trapped at the end of the street.”
The homeowner came back outside and met with his neighbor, who was now outside armed with a firearm as well. The homeowner was explaining the incident to his neighbor as he was still on the phone with 911.
“There was no law enforcement here, still, we were on our own,” said Parris. “We had the option of running in the house or the option of maybe overseeing and protecting our neighborhood, so that’s what we elected to do.”
The sheriff’s office said at this time, the suspect vehicle approached both of them at a high rate of speed and with its lights off. Both the homeowner and the neighbor felt their lives were in danger as the vehicle approached. The homeowner fired several rounds toward the vehicle and the neighbor fired at least once. The vehicle was struck with the gunfire and swerved off the road into the homeowner’s yard. The vehicle then crossed the road and drove into a wooded area. All suspects fled from the vehicle into the woods.
“In our little rural communities, we don’t think something like this can happen, I certainly didn’t,” said Parris. “But, I was prepared and I was measured in my actions. I did everything I thought was in my rights.”
Other neighbors said they heard knocks on their windows before hearing the gunshots.
“We heard the gunshots,” said Michael Cook, a neighbor. “First, I heard it sounded like somebody was knocking on the window and I got up and looked and that’s when I heard gunshots and some lights flashing around. My cousin stays next door and he also heard knocks on his window.”
A short time later, one of the suspects exited the woods and told the neighbor he had been shot. A deputy had just arrived on scene and requested UT Health East Texas EMS. Upon the arrival of paramedics, the suspect was transported to UT Health East Texas where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“You have to do whatever you have to do to protect your home and the people inside your home,” said Cook. “I feel like they did the right thing.”
Smith County Investigators were able to interview the suspect who admitted to driving the suspect vehicle along with two passengers. He also admitted that they had broken into several other vehicles just prior to this incident. Investigators also determined that the suspect vehicle was stolen.
“It’s risky to stand up and do something, it has risk, but at the same time we have people here who can’t take care of themselves,” said Parris. “I think it is important to have neighborhood watches. I think it’s important to have each others’ back and work together.”
The sheriff’s office said the additional suspects are still at large and the known suspect’s name is being withheld pending additional charges. This investigation will continue.
Parris said he hopes this incident can be a lesson to others, so they can be aware.
“Law enforcement may not be two or three minutes away, its impossible, we are afforded that responsibility to be the first responders, sometimes,” said Parris. “Sometimes, we have to do what we have to do to protect our lives or those of our neighbors. So, be prepared. It can happen anywhere, at any time.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.