|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Shoplifting almost turns into shootout
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – What began as a shoplifting investigation almost erupted into a police shootout last week when a suspect reportedly picked up a handgun. Joseph Collier, 31, was being held under bonds totaling $25,000 after being arrested Thursday, July 12, by Officer Travis Bryan. He was charged with unlawfully carrying a handgun, misdemeanor theft and resisting arrest. He also was held under a city warrant for an unpaid traffic fine. Charges of criminal mischief also were pending this week after the suspect reportedly damaged an electrical wall outlet in the city jail. In addition, information was being forwarded to the district attorney about possibly filing a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to Police Chief Steve Jones, Bryan responded to a call from the Dollar General Store at about 7:45 p.m. regarding a possible shoplifter who was believed to be stealing diapers and toilet paper. When the officer arrived at the store, he confronted the suspect outside. The man then reportedly reached into his vehicle and picked something off the seat, pulling it up to his chest. “The suspect had his back turned (to the officer) but Travis got a glimpse of a pistol as the suspect picked it up,” Jones said. The officer then drew his weapon and was preparing to fire if the suspect turned with the gun in his hand. “Fortunately, when Travis shouted for him to put the weapon down, the suspect complied and Travis was able to place him into custody without further incident,” Jones said. Jones said Bryan’s quick action prevented the incident from becoming deadly. The police chief noted that the misdemeanor unlawfully carrying a handgun was filed because the suspect is alleged to have had the weapon in the vehicle’s seat. He explained that under Texas law, as long as a person is legally entitled to own a weapon they may carry it in their vehicle if it’s not in view of the public. It can be carried in the glove compartment, in the trunk or in some type of case.