Bryan Lee Batchelor, 48, has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and one count of evading arrest with a vehicle
A Northeast Texas man was arrested Sunday after investigators say he shot two deputies who responded to reports that he had threatened firefighters who were trying to extinguish the flames ravaging his home.
Bowie County Chief Deputy Jeff Neal says deputies Westin Fannin and Eric McMillian responded to reports of a house fire in the 4600 block of Farm to Market 44 East in DeKalb at around 12.30am Sunday.
The owner of the burning home, 48-year-old Bryan Lee Batchelor, allegedly informed the volunteer firefighters he did not want them to put out the blaze, pointed a gun at them, then jumped in his truck and drove into a pasture to elude deputies as they arrived on the scene.
While McMillian and Fannin were searching for Batchelor, their patrol unit got stuck in a field, at which point Batchelor allegedly rammed the deputies’ vehicle and fired several rounds at them.
The deputies returned fire and were wounded in the exchange, but not critically, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
Batchelor sped off from the scene and was spotted on County Road 4241 by another deputy, who saw that the suspect intended to ram his patrol unit, according to the news release.
Deputies down: Batchelor is accused of shooting and wounding Bowie County Sheriff’s deputies Westin Fannin (left) and Eric McMillian (right)
Pile of debris: This is that was left of Batchelor’s home in DeKalb, Texas, after he allegedly refused to let firefighters extinguish the flames ravaging the property Sunday
Smashed: Batchelor is accused of ramming three Bowie County Sheriff’s patrol units with his vehicle during a wild chase
Video courtesy of KLTV
Deputy Clint Freeman tried to get out of the way to avoid a collision, but Batchelor allegedly slammed into his patrol vehicle, rendering it unusable, and again fled.
Batchelor was later spotted driving along County Road 4236, where he crashed into a third patrol unit carrying two other deputies, according to the sheriff’s office.
A second gun battle ensued, which concluded with Batchelor’ arrest. The 48-year-old man was transported to a hospital to be treated for injuries.
Deputies Fannin and McMillian, who were wounded in the initial gunfire exchange with the suspect, were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital the same day.
‘This is truly a bad situation, that only by the grace of God nobody was killed!’ wrote Bowie County Sheriff James Prince wrote on his Facebook page.
Surrounded: Batchelor was eventually cornered County Road 4236 and apprehended after exchanging fire with deputies
The 48-year-old Batchelor remains jailed on bond totaling more than $3million
Deputies Fannin (pictured left with his girlfriend) and McMillian (right) sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and were released from the hospital Sunday
Batchelor has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and one count of evading arrest with a vehicle. He is currently being held on bonds totaling more than $3million, as the station KLTV reported.
in the days leading up to his arrest, Batchelor’ had written a series of increasingly vitriolic and foul-mouth posts on Facebook accusing his wife of being unfaithful to him and trying to take away his home and land.
In a status update dated September 13, Batchelor wrote that he had stolen all of the guns from his brother’s home and was headed to his own house.
‘You mother f****** think that y’all can make me sell my house and land because my wife wants to be a b**** and spread her legs I will be there about 7:30 come get it you mother*****s [sic].’
Batchelor’s house burned to the ground in Sunday’s fire.