Deadly Shooting at Texas Car Dealership Began When Fugitive Confronted: Investigator

Cellphone video of the shooting was released by the Greenville Police Department Wednesday afternoon

What to Know

  • Two investigators, fugitive killed in shooting at a North Texas car dealership.
  • The two investigators may have presented themselves as federal agents.
  • The fugitive was wanted in Minnesota for failing to appear and was considered by some to be among the "most dangerous fugitives in the U.S."

Cellphone video captured the moments just before two private investigators and a fugitive from Minnesota were killed in a gun battle Tuesday night when the pair tried to make an arrest inside a North Texas car dealership, police said.

Gunfire erupted at about 7:10 p.m. Tuesday when two investigators from Corpus Christi, 33-year-old Gabriel Bernal and 54-year-old Fidel Garcia, tried to arrest Ramon Michael Hutchinson, 49, a wanted man out of St. Paul, Minnesota, as he sat inside an office inside the dealership, Greenville police said.[[425547144,C]]

As Bernal and Garcia approached Hutchinson with guns drawn, Hutchinson tried to pull a pistol from his waistband but ended up dropping it on a desk, police said.

"A scuffle ensued in the office as Hutchinson tried to pick up the weapon," police said. "Hutchinson was able to retrieve his weapon and began firing. Both Garcia and Bernal returned fire ... all three subjects suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene."

Police said the three fired approximately 20 shots in just six seconds.

Cellphone video of the shooting was released by the Greenville Police Department Wednesday afternoon. The video was confiscated, but it is unclear who recorded it, according to a city spokesperson.

In the video, Bernal and Garcia can be seen approaching an office with guns drawn as well as the scuffle described by police. When the shooting began, the person recording the video turned and ran for cover, but the gunshots and screaming can be clearly heard.

Greenville police also released 911 calls placed during the shooting, including a woman who said she was hiding in the bathroom while asking police to "please, hurry."

Greenville police released 911 calls placed during a shooting inside a Nissan dealership, May 30, 2017, including a woman who said she was hiding in the bathroom while asking police to, "please, hurry."

"There are three families mourning the loss of life today," said Stew Peters, a bail investigator with the private Minnesota-based company U.S. Fugitive Recovery and Extradition. "Fidel Garcia was a very dedicated, committed professional in the field of bail investigations. His relentless pursuit of hundreds of violent offenders led to the successful apprehension without incident over many years. That pursuit of justice ended tragically last night ... he will never be forgotten as a hero."

Peters said Garcia and Bernal tracked Hutchinson to the dealership. He added that Hutchinson was wanted on charges that included assaulting a law enforcement officer and that law enforcement colleagues described him as one of the "most dangerous fugitives in the U.S."

NBC 5 Law Enforcement Expert Don Peritz discusses the role of bounty hunters and how they operate in Texas.

Greenville police, meanwhile, said Hutchinson had been sought since March by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department in Minneapolis for failing to appear on a first degree drug charge.

The dealership's owner, Rick Ford, told NBC 5 Tuesday night that two men in plainclothes arrived at his dealership several hours before the shooting and identified themselves as federal agents who were waiting for someone, though they showed no badges.

Greenville police released video from inside a Nissan car dealership of a violent confrontation that ended with three people dead.

A customer and an "associate," Ford said, arrived after 7 p.m. and the two men then approached the man. When they tried to apprehend him, Ford said, the gunfight erupted as horrified employees and customers ducked for cover.

"I've been told that the two gentlemen approached [the associate] with handcuffs and were going to try to arrest him and that's when the shooting started," Ford said.

Greenville police said they were not alerted about the planned arrest beforehand.

Police in Greenville confirm that three men are dead after a shooting inside the Nissan of Greenville auto dealership.

The dealership owner said the business will remain closed Wednesday and Thursday as they make repairs and clean up shattered glass from the shooting.

The service department will re-open Friday morning and the showroom will be open Monday. 

Officers from the Greenville Police Department, the Hunt County Sheriff's Office and Texas State Troopers are all investigating.

Greenville police are investigating a shooting that left three people dead at a Nissan dealership Tuesday evening.

NBC 5's Ashleigh Barry and Homa Bash contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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