Deputy Martinez underwent surgery Saturday morning
Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Jim Wells County Correspondent
An overnight manhunt with horses, dogs, patrol units and a helicopter for the search of a suspect who allegedly shot a sheriff's deputy ended with the man's apprehension eight hours later about 8 a.m. Saturday.
"We didn't stop until we got him," said Sheriff Oscar Lopez moments after the suspect was caught near the creek on Beam Station Road and Corina Street. "We are grateful to have all the law enforcement agencies that were involved. It showed the people that we are concerned about their safety."
Lopez said Deputy Mark Anthony Martinez was shot once in the groin area while trying to apprehend the suspect after chasing his car down for a traffic violation at 11:45 p.m. in the 700 block of Lara Street in Rancho Alegre, a west side community.
Sheriff's officials said the suspect, who was identified as Manuel Perales, shot at Martinez several times.
Martinez returned fire and struck the suspect in the stomach, sheriff officials said.
Martinez was transported to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice and than transported to a Corpus Christi hospital by HALO-Flight just after midnight Saturday.
He underwent surgery to remove the bullet. Lopez said he expects Martinez to recover.
Sheriff's officials said the last time a deputy had been shot was about eight years ago, also in the Rancho Alegre area.
The suspect fled and the manhunt began Friday night. A .45-caliber handgun was recovered at the location on Lara Street along with several casings.
The sheriff's department, along with other agencies, set up a command center at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
The agencies assisting included the Alice Police Department, Department of Public Safety, San Diego Police Department, Premont Police Department, Orange Grove Police Department, Duval County Sheriff's Department, Jim Wells County Task Force and SWAT team, Kingsville Specialized Crime and Narcotics Task Force, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Corpus Christi Coast Guard.
It took "Duke," a blood hound dog, and his handler Claude Cantu, about two hours to sniff out the suspect, south of the creek near Beam Station Road. Duke is from the Garza East Unit prison in Beeville. The eight-hour search came to an end and the suspect was surrounded by at least 30 officers from different agencies. The suspect, with a bullet wound to his stomach, has a tattoo across his abdomen that reads, "Perales."
The suspect was escorted by officers in an ambulance to CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice. He faces charges of attempted capital murder, sheriff's officials said.