Suspects arrested, accused of shooting at Hays County Sheriff’s deputy during chase


DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — Two people are in custody after shots were fired at a Hays County Sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop turned chase on Saturday night.

Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said that deputies pulled over a red 1999 Toyota in the 700 block of Old Fitzhugh Road in Dripping Springs at about 9:30 p.m. The patrol deputy made contact with the driver, but the driver took off.

The driver led deputies on a chase and headed west on Highway 290 toward Blanco and Johnson City, reaching 100 miles per hour at times.

As deputies tried to stop the vehicle, a passenger pulled out a gun and fired “multiple shots” towards the deputy in pursuit, Sheriff Cutler said in a press conference on Sunday.

The pursuit of the Toyota ended when the driver crashed near the intersection of U.S. Highway 281 and Highway 290 in Blanco County, which is near Miller Creek RV Park. No other vehicles were involved in that crash and no one was hurt.

“We don’t know what damage could be in the area of the pursuit because there are a lot of businesses through there,” Sheriff Cutler said.

One person was taken into custody but has since been released.

When two other suspects fled the scene on foot, the sheriff’s office conducted a search and launched helicopters, K9’s, SWAT, drones, officers on the ground and Blanco County Sheriff’s deputies and DPS assisted with a search overnight.

“We activated every resource possible,” Cutler said.

Law enforcement alerted residents inside the Miller Creek RV Park that two suspects, considered armed and dangerous, could be there.

“There was a police officer going into the laundry room and he had a really big gun and I said, ‘Uh Oh, this is real serious,'” says Dennis Dretske, who is spending his winter there.

Officers went door to door, telling neighbors to lock up.

“I hope they don’t come to my trailer, because you have no idea what the circumstances are,” Dretske remembers thinking.

“There was an anniversary party for a couple in the park and they got locked in the Rec Hall… And then the police took them individually to their campers and made sure they locked up,” he says.

Neighbors remained on lock-down all night.

The man and woman who fled were later arrested thanks to tips that came into the sheriff’s office from citizens.

“The citizens are the ones who kept reporting information to us this morning, that actually helped lead to the apprehension of the two at large,” said Sheriff Cutler.

Nathaniel Castro, a 22-year-old from El Paso, and Klarissa Soto, a 19-year-old from Manchaca in south Austin, are both charged with evading arrest and aggravated assault on a peace officer — a first degree felony.

Their bonds were set at $1 million for Castro’s aggravated assault charge and $750,000 for the same charge for Soto. Both also received $500,000 bonds for the evading arrest charges.

In addition to these charges, Castro was charged with third-degree felony tampering with physical evidence with intent to impair and third-degree felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Soto was also charged with a third-degree felony tampering with evidence with intent to impair.

Bonds have yet to be set for the additional charges.

Castro and Soto both have criminal histories.

According to DPS records, Castro’s history includes four previous arrests by El Paso Police Department in 2014 and 2018. The charges included engaging in organized criminal activity, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana.

The sheriff’s office will continue investigating.

Watch the full press conference with Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler below:

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