Two San Jacinto County sheriff’s deputies were traveling northbound on US 59 just before the Trinity River bridge when they reportedly spotted a suspicious dark green Dodge Dakota parked outside a vacant building on the southbound side of the freeway.
According to a statement from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Det. Gary Sharpen, deputies noticed the truck had the hood propped open, giving the appearance that the two male subjects were having problems with the vehicle. One of the men was walking around the parking lot.
“The observant deputies watched the other defendant carrying what appeared to be a pry bar and then forced his way into the vacated building’s front door,” Sharpen wrote in the statement.
Both deputies reportedly observed the defendants were “acting very suspicious with their behavior since the building is vacant and had been out of business for years,” Sharpen continued.
The deputies called for backup and continued watching the two men as they left the property and stopped at an adjacent two-story wood frame home, which was also vacant. The men reportedly forced entry into the home. After a couple of minutes, they left the property and began driving northbound on US 59 toward Polk County.
As they fell in behind the suspects’ vehicle, they were joined by a state trooper who answered the call for assistance. The trooper activated his emergency lights and the truck reportedly came to a sliding stop on the shoulder of U.S. 59.
The passenger of the vehicle, James Christian, 33, of Shepherd, allegedly fled on foot, heading east into a heavily wooded area. The trooper and a deputy pursued him into the woods while the other deputy remained with the second suspect, Billy Duncan, 28, also of Shepherd. Duncan was taken into police custody without incident.
Minutes later, Christian was located in the woods and captured.
“Defendant Christian is very familiar with law enforcement with over 18 arrests, five felony convictions, which include Evading With a Vehicle, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession/Transport of Chemicals with Intent to Manufacture a Controlled Substance,” Sharpen stated. “Defendant Christian is a recent parolee, who just spent just shy of four years in the penitentiary for those various felony convictions.”
According to Sharpen, Duncan has several prior arrests, including two for Possession of Marijuana.
Sheriff Greg Capers expressed his gratitude for the trooper and his deputies for safely arresting the two defendants. He also had an admonishment for persons considering criminal acts in San Jacinto County.
“If you are here and want to engage in criminal activities, you will be arrested and charged accordingly. We have a zero tolerance for such conduct,” he said.