Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

October 16, 2013

Parker County manhunt comes to deadly end


Mineral Wells Index

— From LSNG staff reports

SPRINGTOWN –  A man who hid in a home overnight was found dead this morning, apparently from gunfire after deputies fired at him as he tried to flee, according to Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler.

The standoff took place southeast of Springtown on Cindy Lane.

Fowler said 44-year-old Winford Raynard Watkins is dead. He said deputies saw Watkins trying to escape the home around 5 a.m. and was fired upon. He was in the attic then came down when he was shot at. He then slipped into a bathroom. A special camera was deployed to look inside the home, a residence Watkins ran to after running from deputies Monday afternoon.

Fowler said the suspect had an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.

The ordeal began when Watkins’ vehicle was stopped by a deputy before 2 p.m. Monday on Midway Road after a check on a license plate showed as issue with the vehicle registration.

Watkins, who has a lengthy criminal history, was reportedly absent from a trial in Collin County last month when he was found guilty of a burglary of a deceased man’s residence and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Video of the confrontation Monday afternoon showed Watkins acting erratically, according to Fowler, who said Watkins was at one point reported to be screaming “I’m not going back, I’m not going back.”

Watkins got out of the vehicle with a bunch of papers in his hand during the traffic stop and then pulled out what appeared to be a gun, according to Fowler, who said the deputy backed up and ordered the man to put the weapon down.

Disregarding orders to put the gun down, Watkins began waving the weapon around, Fowler said.

Watkins then got a lug wrench out of the vehicle and began beating on the window of the patrol vehicle, apparently unsuccessfully attempting to break the glass, Fowler said, adding that there was a loaded AR-15 on the seat of the patrol vehicle.

The deputy again challenged Watkins but the suspect did not drop his gun, according to Fowler.

The officer then reportedly fired his weapon. However, the sheriff’s office believes the deputy missed because there was no evidence of blood in the vehicle, according to Fowler.

Watkins led deputies on a short pursuit to the end of Cindy Lane, where deputies reportedly saw him bail out of the vehicle at the end of the cul-de-sac and head west into the trees.

Authorities, who used a bloodhound to track the suspect’s scent, believe he circled around in the neighborhood and entered the unlocked house of a friend, who was not home on at the time.

There was some indication he was or had been in the attic of the home, according to Fowler.

The SWAT team created a perimeter around the single-story, red house Monday afternoon and attempted to contact the suspect inside but received no answer.

Gas was released in the house sometime before 7 p.m., according to Fowler, who said they were preparing to enter the home.

The Parker County Sherif’s Office, who was assisted by a helicopter pilot in a search of the neighborhood and several other law enforcement agencies, were still on scene after 8 p.m. Monday.

A woman who had gotten out of the vehicle during the traffic stop was left behind and arrested on outstanding warrants, according to Fowler.