by BRAD ROLLINS
On Nov. 23 — exactly a week and half before he snapped beyond repair — Jerry Paul Stovall III took to Facebook to say he was at the end of his rope.
“I’m ready to fall over and give up,” he wrote, posting a frowning emoticon along with it.
Stovall was killed by Hays County/San Marcos SWAT early Nov. 29 in Niederwald after leading officers on a winding. high-speed chase across two counties, firing at police a few times along the way. Stovall, who lived near Canyon Lake in western Comal County, was identified on Monday by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Bulverde police were dispatched to the Bealls department store at about 1 a.m. Friday where employees, including Stovall’s 19-year-old ex-girlfriend, were preparing for Black Friday shoppers, according to Bulverde police chief Gary Haecker.
Bealls employees in the parking lot told the first officer on the scene that a man with a gun had taken one of their co-workers. Behind the store, something caught the officer’s eye and he stopped about 20 feet away from a Dumpster. Stovall was hunkered down with his hostage behind the trash bin.
The officer drew his weapon and, crouching behind the opened door of his police cruiser, ordered Stovall to come out. Stovall emerged with the woman in front of him, user her as shield, Haecker said. Stovall had a gun and started moving toward the Bulverde cop, Haecker said.
“Drop your weapon! Drop your weapon!” the officer yelled. Stovall did not drop his weapon as he continued coming slowly closer.
From about 12 feet away, Stovall fired a shot at the officer who scurried to the other side of the cop car. Still pointing his gun at the officer, Stovall pushed the woman inside the patrol car and jumped behind the wheel. He took off on Texas 46, driving east in the direction of New Braunfels.
“The whole incident took about 30 seconds,” Haecker said.
Stovall then led Bulverde police, joined by other agencies, and on a wild, high-speed chase around the hilly roads surrounding Canyon Lake. Then up Purgatory Road into Hays County. Then east on Ranch Road 12 through San Marcos to Interstate 35.
About 90 minutes after the chase began, Hays County Sheriffs deputies laid spike strips across Interstate 35 in Kyle, destroying two of the stolen cruiser’s tires as it passed through, according to deputy Stephen Traeger, a sheriff’s office spokesperson. Stovall kept driving on shredded rubber that soon gave way to metal tire rims, trailing great plumes of sparks as he headed east on FM 2001.
Finally, the stolen police car came to a stop on the side of Texas 21, just east of its intersection with FM 2001. For about a half-hour, the Hays County-San Marcos Crisis Negotiation team tried to get Stovall to surrender peacefully as SWAT members waited in position nearby.
Stovall began pointing his gun at his hostage and at officers, Traeger said. Fearing he would kill the woman, two San Marcos SWAT members ended the ordeal at about 3:15 a.m. with two shots to Stovall’s head, Traeger said.
The woman, whose name authorities are not releasing, had tried to break off all contact with her former boyfriend, Haecker said. Stovall had a history of violent crimes as a juvenile, Haecker said. The ex-girlfriend was uninjured except for a cut on her leg.
The Bulverde police chief said he is relieved that no officer or bystander was hurt or killed in the early morning mayhem. And the young woman is fortunate she survived the night, as well, Haecker said.
Back in Bulverde, Stovall left a backpack on top of the woman’s car in the Bealls parking lot. Haecker declined to say what was inside the bag but he did say its contents lead him to one conclusion about Stovall’s intentions that night:
“I think he had every intention on killing her,” Haecker said.
Hays Free Press managing editor KIM HILSENBECK contributed reporting to this story.Email | Print