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One man dead after police chase, shooting (Video)

By Gheni_Platenburg
Jan. 4, 2012 at 9:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 4, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.


A DeWitt County man is dead following a Wednesday morning chase that led law enforcement personnel through three counties.

Derrick D. Hartsfield, 35, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after fleeing from sheriff's deputies.

About 11:30 p.m., Tuesday, two Victoria County sheriff's deputies attempted to arrest Hartsfield at a home on Vogt Road on an outstanding warrant from DeWitt County for revocation of probation in an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/family violence case, said Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor.

As the deputies attempted to approach Hartsfield, who was in a silver Dodge pickup, he sped away. A woman passenger was also in the truck.

After letting the woman out of the truck about 100 yards from the home, he continued on despite law enforcement's attempts to stop him, O'Connor said.

Hartsfield led deputies and Department of Public Safety troopers on a chase from southeastern Victoria County to DeWitt County.

His route took him through Burroughsville Road, Loop 463, U.S. Highway 77 North, the parking lot of Home Depot and Big Lots, Fordtran Road, Horseshoe Road and eventually Cattle Guard Road.

At Fordtran Road, he used a semi-automatic weapon to shoot at DPS troopers who were waiting on him.

Law enforcement returned fire, disabling a few of the pickup's tires, O'Connor said.

Hartsfield soon abandoned the pickup in a pasture close to Horseshoe Road and Farm-to-Market Road 682 in Lavaca County before he fled on foot nearly five miles to an abandoned home near Cattle Guard Road.

The vacant home was located within close proximity of Hartsfield's parents' house.

Law enforcement searched the area with the help of Texas Department of Criminal Justice tracking dogs, who eventually led officers to the vacant home where Hartsfield had barricaded himself inside a room, said a DeWitt County Sheriff's Office press release.

DPS troopers entered the home around 4 a.m.

Upon their entry, Hartsfield took his own life, according to the press release.

No one from law enforcement was injured, but one DPS car did have multiple bullet holes from shots fired by Hartsfield, O'Connor said.

"On behalf of the sheriff's department, I'd like to say how smoothly this operation worked due to the level of professionalism and cooperation between the state agency - DPS - and the local agencies: Victoria, DeWitt and Lavaca," said O'Connor. "Not one agency could have done this alone."

O'Connor issued this warning to future offenders:

"I, the sheriff of Victoria County, would like to extend this message to the people who intend to commit or commit crimes to the people or property of Victoria County. We will pursue them extensively and aggressively. We will especially pursue individuals who fire upon law enforcement. We will use every means available to locate and apprehend you. Our aggression increases as the crime is committed," said O'Connor. "To have an individual fire upon officers is unacceptable. We will be very aggressive in pursuit. It will not be tolerated."

At this time, the pursuit is still under investigation by DeWitt and Victoria counties' sheriff offices and the Texas Rangers.

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