Stephen Garrett Martin (Source: Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office)
The deputy hit a fence while attempting to back up from the scene. (Source: Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office)
The front porch of the home is visible in this photo taken from the road. (Source: Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office)
VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -
An East Texas man was arrested and charged with attempted capital murder of a peace officer after authorities say the man fired shots at a Van Zandt County deputy on Sunday.
Stephen Garrett Martin, a Van Zandt County resident, is in the Van Zandt County Jail on a $1 million bond after authorities say he called 911, then fired shots at a deputy responding to the criminal trespass call at his home.
Van Zandt County Sheriff Lindsey Ray says a deputy responded to Martin's home in the 300 block of County Road 2140 near Canton just before 3 p.m. on Sunday. Before the deputy could get out of his car at the home, he heard a loud noise coming from the front of the home and saw a dog quickly run away. The deputy heard a second noise from the home and then felt a vibration coming from the front of his patrol car.
The deputy then saw Martin standing in the door of his home holding a handgun. The deputy quickly put his car in reverse and began backing up down the driveway towards the County Road 2140. While backing up, the deputy hit a fence near the entrance of the property.
The deputy got out of his car, drew his gun and ordered Martin to put down his weapon and put his hands up. Martin obeyed and a short time later, a Van police officer arrived and the officers ordered Martin walk towards them with his hands up. While officers were searching Martin, they could a second, fully-loaded handgun tucked into his waistband.
Martin informed officers that there was a body inside his residence and there were two men hiding in the trees in his front yard. When more officers arrived, they swept the home and yard, but didn't find a body or anyone hiding in the trees. During the sweep, officers found multiple weapons inside the home, which appeared to have been shot up.
After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found a large cache of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. One of the weapons seized at the residence had been altered to function as a fully-automatic weapon.
It was later determined that bullets struck the front of the deputy's patrol car.
"At the end of the day, my job is to make sure that the men and women who work for the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office go home safely to their families at the end of their shifts, I take that responsibility very seriously," said Sheriff Ray.
Recently the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Canton Police Department conducted a sixty-hour Basic SWAT training school. A second training school has been scheduled for July.
"There are many individuals living within our communities who are suffering from emotional issues, mental health issues or anger issues. Some of these individuals are very dangerous," said Sheriff Ray. "Law enforcement agencies are struggling with how to deal with these individuals who need to be in mental health hospitals, but because of mental health budgetary issues end up being incarcerated in county jails all over the state."
The sheriff has requested the assistance of Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for assistance in the investigation.
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