GREENVILLE, Texas (KMSP) - The two Texas bounty hunters who died in Wednesday's shootout at a Texas car dealership may have violated state laws while pursuing a Minnesota fugitive, says the owner of a Texas bounty hunting business.
Texas requires all bounty hunters to identify themselves in a Department of Public Safety uniform, according to Jon Alfaro, the co-owner of Texas Bounty Hunters--something the two officials in question, Fidel Garcia, Jr. and Gabriel Bernal , did not appear to do. He also says the pair did not alert local law enforcement before honing in on Raymond Hutchinson.
"The execution and the way they chose to go about apprehending this individual was wrong," Alfaro said. "We apprehended well over 400 fugitives on felony and misdemeanor warrants [last year] and everybody is still alive."
Both bounty hunters were contracted by Minnesota company U.S. Fugitive Recovery and Extradition, whose owners Alfaro says would be under investigation for manslaughter if Texas had the same laws as other states like Oklahoma. Alfaro said he's reached out to DPS to no avail, and fears that without proper regulation, incidents like Greenville may become the new normal.
For his part, the owner of USFRE, Stew Peters, said the blame for the incident rests solely on Hutchinson and that the agents were following the letter of Texas law when executing their assignment.
"The person who was wanted for heinous violent crime against law enforcement officers in the state of MN dictated the outcome of that based on his actions by reaching for a firearm in that car dealership," Peters, who knew Garcia personally, said. "He was an utmost professional who handled himself in the most honorable regard on every apprehension that we knew of. Hundreds of people, if not thousands, have been jailed without incident based on Fidel Garcia’s effort."