By Tony Farkas
COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the shooting death of a man that occurred during an attempted robbery on Wednesday, March 8.
Sheriff Greg Capers said that between 5:20 and 5:40 a.m. today, Jeffrey Vance Gunter, 22, broke into Frank’s Liquor, located in the 13000 block of Highway 150 in Coldspring.
The owner of store, who was not immediately identified, was sleeping at the store because he was too tired to drive home; when the suspect broke in, the owner, Chea Alexander, woke up, Capers said.
The preliminary investigation indicates that Gunter was seeking to rob liquor, as several bags with bottles were laying around the store.
Capers said that during the robbery, the owner fired a round from a 9 mm pistol, hitting the suspect.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found Gunter lying on the floor of the business with a single gunshot wound. Allegiance Mobile Health arrived on scene shortly after and began performing medical care to the male subject. The suspected thief was transported to a hospital in Cleveland, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators took evidence and reviewed surveillance camera footage that showed the suspect entering the closed business through a drive-through window. The footage then showed the subject move around inside of the liquor store and place cigarettes and bottles of liquor inside of a bag before moving to a back storage room.
The video also showed the store owner heard a noise and began checking his business. The owner came across the storage room, saw the subject in the back room and yelled out. The subject appeared to rapidly move towards where the owner was standing, and the store owner discharged one round from a handgun.
Capers said the store owner immediately called 911.
The shooting still is under investigation, and the body was sent to the Jefferson County Morgue for autopsy.
Capers also said that no charges have been filed against the owner; however, everything will be presented to the San Jacinto County District Attorney’s Office and a grand jury to determine if any charges will be filed in this case, which is standard procedure.