Dime Box, TX – A Lee County sheriff’s deputy was shot multiple times on Tuesday night while trying to arrest a suspect wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a child.
The incident began at approximately 9:45 p.m. on May 10, when the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) received a report that a suspect wanted for failing to appear for the offense of sexual assault on a child was at a home located at 1039 Stephen F Austin Boulevard, KEYE reported.
The caller said a man at that location was also holding two juveniles and a woman hostage, according to KTBC.
A LCSO deputy and a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper responded to the home and were speaking with the homeowner when the suspect, Raul Vega Perez, allegedly opened fire on them, KEYE reported.
The deputy was shot twice, to include being hit in the neck, according to KTBC.
Despite his wounds, the deputy and the trooper were both able to return fire, striking Perez, KEYE reported.
The deputy was airlifted to an Austin hospital, where he was rushed into a four-hour surgical procedure.
He was subsequently listed in stable condition, although Lee County Sheriff Casey Goetz later told KXAN that the deputy suffered “more damage than first thought.”
The wounded hero has been with the LCSO for more than a decade, Sheriff Goetz told KVUE.
The woman and two minors who were inside the home at the time of the shootout managed to escape from the house through a window, according to KTBC.
Once outside, the woman told police Perez was lying in the hallway and that she didn’t know if he was still alive or not, according to investigators.
DPS utilized a thermal drone to enter the home and discovered the gunman was not moving, KTBC reported.
Officers subsequently made their way inside and Perez was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday, according to KEYE.
According to an alert issued by the LCSO hours before the shootout, Perez had prior charges of sexual assault and murder.
Investigators said they believed Perez was planning to flee to Mexico when he was located, KVUE reported.
Court records showed Perez was sentenced to five years in prison in 1975 for sexually assaulting a child, according to KXAN.
He was sentenced to five more years in prison the following year after being convicted of second-degree rape.
Perez was later sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1981 on a first-degree murder charge.
The Texas Rangers are handling the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting, KTBC reported.