HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Hays County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday the man and woman involved in a deadly shooting knew one another. Sheriff’s Lt. Todd Riffe confirmed that fact in an email late Tuesday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office would not confirm the woman’s name, writing, “That is information that can’t be confirmed due to the nature of the investigation,” Riffe wrote.
Investigators said 35-year-old Matthew Kellas was found shot several times about a quarter-mile from where the shooting happened Saturday. Kellas was in a car and covered with blood just down the street from the shooting scene, investigators said.
“We have very little additional information to add due to the fact the investigation is on going,” Riffe wrote, “The incident investigated on Saturday by the Sheriff’s Office was reported as a burglary in which the homeowner fired at the intruder upon his entry into the residence. The homeowner and the decedent did know each other.”
“The homeowner is not in custody and the investigation in ongoing,” Riffe wrote.
When KXAN interviewed Kellas’ father, Bill, there were moments when it was just a normal conversation between a grieving father and a reporter. Then there were moments Bill Kellas hid his face in his hands and sobbed.
“He’s not here anymore,” Kellas said. “We can never talk to him. Nobody has the right to do this to someone.”
As news article of his son’s death spread across social media and the nation, the past two days has consumed Kellas with fielding dozens of phone calls and “a hundred” messages from his son’s friends.
Kellas’ son, Matt, was shot and killed Saturday morning.
Someone found the 35-year-old sitting in a car with multiple gunshot wounds and covered with blood. The person who found him called 911 and tried to talk to the dying man.
“All he said was he wanted water,” one of Kellas’ closest friends told KXAN. That friend asked not to be identified until the investigation into this shooting is closed. The friend said he spoke with the man who found Kellas Saturday at the corner of South Plum Creek Road and Grist Mill Road.
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office notified Bill Kellas Saturday that his son was dead. Kellas said he hasn’t heard anything from investigators since, “All we want is an accounting of what really happened. And, we want the truth,” Kellas told KXAN.
Kellas revealed new details in the case to KXAN Monday night. Kellas found out the car his son died belonged to a woman who’d loaned Matt Kellas her car Saturday so he could go pick up clothes he’d left at a house on South Plum Creek Road.
The woman who owned the car told Bill Kellas investigators took her phone and at least one computer from her home following the shooting. That woman confirmed that detail in a phone call with KXAN Tuesday and said she gave investigators consent to search her devices without a search warrant because she wanted to cooperate in the investigation.
Bill Kellas told KXAN the woman who owns the car told him his son was invited to the home to retrieve his things Saturday morning. But, the car’s owner told KXAN by phone Tuesday that she doesn’t know if Kellas was invited or not.
Kellas’ friend said Tuesday that he spoke with a man on the phone who lives at the home and that man confirmed Matt Kellas was invited there Saturday to pick up his belongings. Although the friend identified the man by name, we could not confirm the name with law enforcement. “That is information that can’t be confirmed due to the nature of the investigation,” Hays County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Todd Riffe wrote in an email Tuesday.
Neighbors who live near the South Plum Creek home told KXAN clothes were thrown out along the ditch just outside the gate at the home Friday. One neighbor said she noticed the top of fence posts at the home were painted purple within “the last few days.” That woman told KXAN she is scheduled to interview with sheriff’s investigators Tuesday about what she saw at the home the day before the shooting.
Purple paint is one way a landowner in Texas can meet the legal standard for properly notifying someone the property is a no trespassing zone. The “purple law” is part of the criminal trespass section of the Texas Penal code.
That house is the place neighbors identified as where Hays County investigators appeared to be processing a crime scene Saturday. It’s also the house where Kellas’ friend–whom we agreed to not identify at this point–went Saturday after finding out his friend was dead.
At some point after Hays County investigators got the call about the body in the car, the sheriff’s office got a call from a woman claiming that “a male subject attempted to break into her residence and she discharged a firearm at him,” according to a sheriff’s press release issued Saturday night.
Kellas’ family and friends identified the woman, but we have not been able to confirm the name with investigators. Bill Kellas told KXAN his son knew the woman for more than 15 years and that his son had lived at the South Plum Creek Road home at some point in the past.
KXAN made attempts to speak with someone at the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Monday, but sheriff’s Lieutenant Todd Riffe told KXAN in an email that day, “I am not available this afternoon.”