Trespass report ends in attempted murder charge

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 29, 2014

Monitor Staff Reports
CANTON–The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of county resident Stephen Garrett Martin. He is charged with attempted Capital Murder of a Peace Officer and is being held in lieu of a $1,000,000 bond.
According to a press release, last Sunday, a deputy responded to a trespass complaint by the resident at 350 VZCR 2140. Shortly after arriving and before the deputy exited his car, he heard a loud noise coming from the residence and observed a dog lying on the front porch jump up and run away. A second loud noise followed and the deputy felt a violent vibration coming from the front of his car. Later it was determined that bullets had struck his car.
The deputy then saw Martin standing in the front doorway of his house holding a handgun. That’s when the deputy realized that Martin was shooting at him. The deputy put his car in reverse and attempted to flee the shooting, accelerating backward. In his rush, the deputy caused the patrol car to strike a metal gate, fence post and barbed wire fence at the entrance of the property.
Martin now stood on the porch with handgun in hand. The deputy opened the door of his car and at gunpoint and verbally ordered Martin to put down the weapon and raise his hands. Martin complied with the orders. Within a short time, a Van Police Officer arrived and they were able to take Martin into custody without further incident. Martin was told he was under arrest and a search revealed a second fully-loaded handgun was lodged in the waistband of his pants.
Upon being placed into custody, Martin informed the officers that there was a body inside his residence and also two men in camouflage hiding in the trees in his front yard, one on each side of the driveway. When additional officers arrived, a cursory sweep of the home and yard detected no body inside and no one in trees in the front yard. While in the residence, officers found the interior to be in disarray, appearing to have been shot up with firearms. After procuring an evidentiary search warrant, officers found a large cache of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. One of the weapons seized appears to have been altered to function as a fully automatic weapon, so the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been called in to assist in the investigation, the press release stated.
“There are many individuals living within our communities who are suffering from emotional issues, mental health issues or anger issues, “Sheriff Michael Lindsey Ray stated. “Some of these individuals are very dangerous.” He added that this poses a very large problem for law enforcement agencies. Budgetary constraints on mental health facilities means many of these types of individuals end up in county jails all over the state.
Recently, the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Canton Police Department conducted a 60-hour training in basic SWAT procedures and a second training has been set for July.
“Unfortunately, our peace officers are encountering more and more of these types of dangerous situations so we are now training them in the use of special weapons and tactics for officer safety and there is a great demand for this training from area law enforcement agencies,” Ray said. “At the end of the day, my job is to make sure that the men and women who work for the county go home safely to their families at the end of their shifts. I take that responsibility very seriously.”