May 31, 2017 10:39 PM
(Warning: The video attached to this story, provided by the City of Greenville, Texas, contains graphic footage)
A private investigator says a shooting at a Texas car dealership that left three men dead involved two investigators who had confronted a fugitive wanted in Minnesota on several felony charges.
Stew Peters, a bail investigator with the private Minnesota-based company U.S. Fugitive Recovery and Extradition, said Wednesday the two men had tracked 49-year-old Ramon Michael Hutchinson to a Nissan dealership in Greenville, about 50 miles northeast of Dallas.
Peters said the two investigators killed were based in Texas. That includes Fidel Garcia Jr., whom Peters said his company had referred the case to. The AP reports the other investigator killed was Gabriel Bernal.
Hutchinson was also reported to have been killed in the shootout.
"We referred the case to them once we found probable cause that Mr. Hutchinson could be in Texas," Peters said. "We're not Texas-licensed. And in Texas, the law requires that you be licensed there. That's why we referred it to Fidel and we'd been working back-and-forth on the case over the last two weeks."
After an hours-long wait for Hutchinson to appear, the two bounty hunters approached Tuesday evening. Garcia and Bernal drew their weapons and Hutchinson responded by drawing his own pistol, which he dropped, according to a statement from Kathy Lucas, spokeswoman for the city of Greenville. The men fought as Hutchinson retrieved his weapon and began firing. The other two fired as well and Lucas said about 20 shots were fired in the span of six seconds. Customers and employees fled for cover.
Peters says Hutchinson had been sought since March when he failed to appear for court in Hennepin County.
A woman who lives in the St. Paul neighborhood of Hutchinson's last listed address asked to not be identified, but told KSTP that law enforcement had come to the neighborhood looking for Hutchinson in mid-April and asked her to keep an eye out for him.
"He told me he was a U.S. Marshal and sent me a photo of Hutchinson on my cell phone and a description of his car and asked me to call them, if I saw him. It was a little scary because they told me there was a major warrant for his arrest and they wanted him really, really bad,' the woman said.
She also said she had seen a man who matched Hutchinson's description in the neighborhood many times.
"There were a lot of people coming and going from the house and it looked like they were always changing their looks and wore different clothes and stuff and they never stayed very long and it is just sad to hear how it all ended with the loss of lives," she said.
KSTP has not been able to confirm that it was the U.S. Marshal's Office that talked with the woman, but a review of her text messages with the person she said was a federal agent, did show Hutchinson's photo and a description of his car.
Hennepin County District Court records show Hutchinson is charged with one felony count of first degree possession of 25 grams or more of cocaine, one gross misdemeanor count of fourth degree physical assault of a peace officer, one felony count of disarming a peace officer-taking a defensive device from a peace officer/area controlled by a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of DWI.
The charges stem back to an attempted arrest in early May of 2016.
A company description on the U.S. Fugitive Recovery and Extradition website describes the company, in part, as follows:
"As a private bail enforcement agency, US Fugitive Recovery & Extradition, LLC (US Fugitive Apprehension) is credited with the arrest of hundreds of felony fugitives from justice every year. USFRE headquarters is located in Minnesota, however agents will travel anywhere in the world in pursuit of wanted persons.
The agency contracts for several Minnesota based bail bond companies, and performs extradition duties for multiple counties in MN. When someone is released from custody by obtaining a surety bond, they are required to make all of their court appearances. When a defendant fails to appear before THE COURT, the bail bond agent or company authorizes USFRE to locate, apprehend, and deliver the defendant to the custody of the Sheriff in the Minnesota County where they are currently facing charges. In many cases, this requires agents of USFRE to cross state lines, and even travel outside of the United States to bring a fugitive to justice."
The Associated Press contributed to this story ee eel
Frank Rajkowski/Jay Kolls
Updated: May 31, 2017 10:39 PM
Created: May 31, 2017 12:40 PM
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