View Full Version : Texas Game Warden shot and killed by poacher

March 20, 2007, 09:09 PM
I posted this here because I thought it would be more relavent towards this crowd than in the other ones. This just goes to show you how careful you need to be when approaching people that you don't know on your lease or places that you hunt at. You never know what you might be walking into.

Texas Game Warden Justin Hurst, 34, was shot and killed by a poacher on Saturday March 17 in El Campo, TX. He was a great guy that I have worked with before. He observed a poacher shoot a deer. When he tried to make a traffic stop on the guy, he took off in his truck. Justin got into a pursuit with the guy that lasted for over an hour. The Texas Highway Patrol and County units also got involved in the pursuit. The Highway Patrol managed to spike the guys tires. Instead of coming to a stop slowing, the guy slammed on his brakes after getting spiked and came to an abrupt stop. Since the vehicle stopped so quick, Justin wasn't able to stop with much distance in between the vehicles. Just as Justin exited his patrol car, the guy came out with an AK 47 and opened up. Justin was struck in the upper leg. The guy continued to shoot at him while he was on the ground. Another Game Warden that had got involved in the pursuit managed to reach him and cover him with his own body to keep the Warden from being struck again. Trooper's were able to return fire and shoot the suspect 4 times.

Justin was airlifted to the hospital but died on the way. The bullet that struck him in the leg struck a major artery and he bled to death.

I forget what the suspects name is, but he survived. An emergency room doctor asked the guy what he was thinking and the guy laughed and said that he had a brain fart!!

Justin had been a Game Warden since 2002 and leaves behind a wife and 4 month old daughter.

Like I said before, this just goes to show you how careful you need to be when your out hunting. Most people in this sport are just the good ole boy type, but there are still some out there that are not. When you run into a strangers out hunting, you never know which ones there going to be.

March 20, 2007, 09:58 PM

I assume it will be a capital case.

March 20, 2007, 10:34 PM
...he had a brain fart!!
Hmmm...that's **&#@$% up. The officer hit once in the leg dies, and that moron got it 4 times--probably center mass--and lives. Why?! :barf:

March 21, 2007, 12:11 AM
Whole thing is horribly tragic. I can see why many states forbid high speed chases, what started off as a minor crime ended up costing an officer his life. If they had his plate number already they could have let him go and snag him a week later coming out of work.

It horrible that there are people that crazy to kill someone over a..... what 500.00 fine.

Hope they give the killer the chair.

Double Naught Spy
March 21, 2007, 07:17 AM
The poacher was James Freeman.


Hmmm...that's **&#@$% up. The officer hit once in the leg dies, and that moron got it 4 times--probably center mass--and lives. Why?!

Simple, the four shots failed to do the damage necessarily to cause loss of life before medical help was provided. Chances are, the four shots did not hit center mass, certainly not all of them. More than likely, they hit periphery mass of the torso and/or hit appendages. Chances are, the shots were with pistol calibers. Lots of folks talk about how bad guys survive COM shots, sometimes good guys. While the aim may have been intended for COM, the supposed COM shots fail to strike vital organs or blood vessels, strike them in a manner that doesn't produce immediately lethal damage, or simply are not actually at the CENTER of mass.

If the warden died as a result of a single leg injury, then undoubtedly it would be the result of bleeding out, probably because a major blood vessel such as the femoral artery was struck. People can and do die from appendicular shots, even if they are not as commonly lethal as actual COM shots.

From the reports, it sounds like it was a significant gun fight.

March 21, 2007, 11:42 PM
Unbelievable. Potassium Cyanide will hopefully be the result for this creature.

March 22, 2007, 05:14 PM
Texas is not the place to commit capital murder. My guess is that he will be put to death after about 4 years of sexual abuse in prison. I hope he finds him a big 'ol bubba boyfriend.

March 22, 2007, 05:38 PM
Since I can't say what I want about the perp.....I will say this...

Pray for the game warden's family. This has to be the most difficult time for the wife. You never excpect to die on your job. Event tho the chance is there you don't plan on it.

So, just pray for the family...and i hope the perp rots in hell.

March 23, 2007, 03:41 PM
What the hell??!! To shoot at cops to keep from getting poaching charge? People are so damn insane, hope he gets justice served to him, but it will still not bring back the officer. Nuts.

March 23, 2007, 06:01 PM
My sympathy to the warden's family. Thank god Texas is the one state were capitial punishment is carried out. This case screams for it.

March 23, 2007, 06:21 PM
What the hell??!! To shoot at cops to keep from getting poaching charge? People are so damn insane, hope he gets justice served to him, but it will still not bring back the officer. Nuts.

Well just about anyone when they are pushed make very bad choices, in the case of a high speed chase the person has a long time to get worked up and it seems they stop thinking. Thats why CA forbids high speed chases, people would run from a speeding ticket and before you know it their running people over trying to get away.

Try catching a feral dog by chasing it, the closer you get the more desperate it gets and the more likely that someone is going to get bit. People should know better than a dog but often times they don't think until it is to late. The murderer said that he "had a brain fart", likely he knew the consequences of poaching but he forgot in the heat of the moment. It does not make him less guilty.

March 23, 2007, 06:57 PM
Today there is no excuse for road hunting although it still goes on by those who like to buck the law and take chances for the thrill. The same types who would shoot and kill a Game Warden, or anybody else that interfered with their illegal activities.

During the Great Depression, landless poor people did road hunt for the lack of a place to kill deer to feed their families. Sometimes the only meat their wives and children had other than jackrabbits, cottentails, and "Hoover hawgs" as armadillo were popularly called back then in Texas.

Deer leases cost a bit today, more than some can afford but there is no excuse to take a shortcut and illegally kill animals which belong to the State which is you and I. And a criminal that will shoot at or kill a Game Warden is the same types who would manufacture and sell drugs to our young people.
We need an open season on these criminals...........

March 25, 2007, 02:59 PM
The problem IS NOT THE CHASE.


All of us can make mistakes under stress, BUT SHOOTING COPS AIN"T ONE OF THESE THINGS. People have a far greater responsibility for their actions and capacity than feral dogs, if we stop believing or expectign that we have lost any faith in the human race.

Sorry folks but the blame the cops BS has got to stop here, the argument against high speed chase it primaraly based on the risk to the public from colatteral damage, not because of some "justification" or "understanding" of how the suspect is acting or thinking. Frankly who cares what is in the suspect's mind, they are dangerous and non-complying and desrve what they get. However innocent people don't deserve to get run over because of a minor trafic violation and hence limits on chase.

Sorry I just had to say that, it's a tragic case and it gets my blood up to see folks blame those in LE for trying to do their job.

The minor problem is whoever scored the 4 COM shots should have gotten out of their vehicles with their issued long arm.

March 26, 2007, 12:50 AM
I hope that SOB will get what he deserves!:mad:

March 26, 2007, 12:53 AM
RsqVet, I agree.

Game Wardens don't get the respect that they deserve.


March 26, 2007, 06:21 PM
I am not blaming the game wardens but I am allowed to question why they felt the need to risk a high speed chase over a hefty fine.

And an officer was killed so I hope you are not implying that everything went as planed. So something went wrong and corrections should be made.... Right?

March 26, 2007, 11:45 PM
Csspecs -- sorry if I over reacted, I had a diffirnt and obviously wrong read on what you wrote.

I was not there so the choice to discontinue a chase is a fine enough decesion that I'm not going to arm chair QB it from here.

Obviously no officer would willingly disregard their or another officer's safety, for "nothing" but at the same time thier job always has risk and their own safety is not the only or sole consideration in such decesions.

Other things that could also be said:

Warden should have let Highway Patrol / DPS take the lead, they sure do it more.

Warden should be trained in chase / felony stop, or better practiced at it.

It could go on and on but again we were not there.

Thing that really stinks, other than the loss of the warden, is stories like this will ink an image like this with "hunter" attached to it upon the mind of many of the mis / under informed public.

March 27, 2007, 01:23 AM
RsqVet, I don't think you over reacted at all. In fact, I think you hit the nail on the head. Unless your there and know the details behind it, how can you sit there and armchair quarterback the decisions made.

The majority of pursuits are initiated from minor traffic violations. The majority of the time, the person is not running to try to get out of a ticket, there is something else going on that there running from. They might be a fugitive, drunk, or have your wife or child tied up in the trunk after they just kidnapped them or car jacked them. You never know. How would someone feel if there loved one was tied up in the vehicle and an officer had a chance stop them and they didn't.

Lets look at some of the facts in the incident with the game warden. The Warden see's a car stopped on a rural county road at night and shots are fired. At the time, he doesn't know if they guy is just poping off some rounds, poaching, or just murdered someone. The guy is obviously armed and refuses to stop. The pursuit never got to the point that it was indangering innocent bystanders, so there was no real reason to terminate the pursuit.

It ended up in a large gun fight with high powered weapons. You never know how an incident is going to play out, until it's over with. I'm sure there are some things that could have been done different in regards to the gunfight, but the fact is, you could do everything right and still end up getting shot in a gun fight when high powered rifles are involved. Game Wardens are trained in pursuit driving and making felony stops.

DPS does not take over pursuits initiated by other agency. They can assist in anyway possible, but cannot take over the pursuit. The fact is, as you know, law enforcement is a dangerous job and all officer's know that each day they go to work, they may be seriously injured or might not come home. It's a real shame that a good officers lost his life and just be thankful that this POS is off the streets and hopefully will get what he has coming to him.

They guy was obviously a time bomb waiting to go off. The point of this thread and the reason I posted it in the hunting section was not to armchair QB the incident, but to remind us hunters that there a real dangers out there when hunting and you need to stay alert to people like this out there hunting.

March 27, 2007, 12:34 PM
Trooper --

All excellent points. I don't want to hijack the thread further.

Keeping mindful of fools or worse when out and about goes well beyond hunting. Here in AZ we have many areas that are open for general use, shooting, off road vehicles, whatever. While 95% of the people out there are reasonable, 5-10% are out in left field and downright reckless or worse. The frequency of such people tresspassing on private land is also increasing and several friends have had problems some of them involving armed fools that could not even be called "novice" hunters.

I wish I could say I did't think it was getting worse, because that makes me feel old, but I sure think that it is. The amount of trash, fires, useless destruction and vandalism as well as evidnce of reckless or illicit activity that I see keeps increasing.

March 27, 2007, 02:58 PM
A true shame and all over a poached deer ,but at least Texas will deal with him the way he deserves.:mad:

March 28, 2007, 06:22 AM
God bless Texas. More states should take up the attitude on crime.
Road rage or Road Ignorance be damned.
Brain fart or lack of gray matter, his midnight watch is coming.

March 28, 2007, 06:47 AM
Many people do not realize the dangers that game wardens face on the job. When I became one, in the academy they opened our eyes to the dangers and told us that statistics show that being a game warden is the most dangerous job in the field of law enforcement. May god be with the family of that officer, and may his killer be dealt with accordingly.

March 28, 2007, 10:43 PM
First, I'm horribly sorry for this officer, and his family. People never cease to amaze me. Second, People, this is Texas, and he killed a Game Warden. They only thing this jerk will get is the Chair. Remember, they got a capital punishment express lane.

Art Eatman
March 29, 2007, 09:42 AM
Not the Chair; in Texas, it's the Needle.

March 29, 2007, 10:10 AM
Another Game Warden that had got involved in the pursuit managed to reach him and cover him with his own body to keep the Warden from being struck again.

April 2, 2007, 08:47 PM
That's a sad news indeed, and unfair too.
Chrysler Town & Country Seating & Storage 2007 by Chrysler USA (http://www.who-sells-it.com/cy/chrysler-usa-2105/chrysler-town-country-seating-storage-2007-9960.html) - Chrysler Town & Country Seating & Storage 2007 by Chrysler USA

Lost River
April 4, 2007, 06:29 AM
""The problem IS NOT THE CHASE.


Well Said!!

I hope that MFr dies a slow death! I would gladly hang the SOB myself, SLOWLY and let him struggle and TWIST. I do not say those things lightly.

I truly feel for the wife and child. A child who will never know her fathers love due to the selfish and pointless act of a self absorbed prick. A child who will never be able to sit on daddy's lap and get read another story.

And for what?

:mad: :(

April 5, 2007, 12:29 PM
Yeah plus 10, Lost River

April 5, 2007, 01:56 PM
Yes, a real sicko jerk. The Texas Game wardens should double up their force, and be prepared. And people wonder sometimes why game wardens aren't as friendly as they used to be, too much to be wary of these days.

April 5, 2007, 03:07 PM
I've been hunting in Texas for 25+ years and might have come in contact with maybe a dozen Game Wardens. They've always treated me with respect & courtesy, as I have done with them. IMHO these guys are under appreciated.

Double Naught Spy
April 5, 2007, 05:31 PM
The Texas Game wardens should double up their force, and be prepared.

While I agree with you, who pays for the extra force? Folks already baulk at paying more taxes as are needed to pay for improvements of their most immediate emergency services such as police, sheriff, and fire-rescue.

Art Eatman
April 5, 2007, 08:37 PM
And the Lege has been under-funding the Parks & Wildlife folks for a good number of years, now...


April 5, 2007, 09:09 PM
Another useless poacher commits a crime and the anti hunter cronies try to link that guy with law abiding hunters. I have no use for a poacher. Such a loss to loose a good person (game warden) that was just doing his job to uphold the laws. The poacher should get an ol fashioned Texas hanging.