BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A man accused of shooting a Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office deputy Sunday night at a gas station on State Highway 95 has been arrested.
Michael Stark, 33, was found and taken into custody on Cool Water Drive in Bastrop just before noon Monday after a deputy recognized him walking in the area. The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office said he faces a parole violation and is currently being held without bond. Additional charges will be forthcoming, the agency said.
Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook said Deputy Sawyer Wilson’s vital signs are stable after taking two gunshots to the chest and one to the right forearm, shattering it. Cook said the deputy’s protective vest stopped the shots to the chest.
“The vest did what it was supposed to do,” Cook said.
Wilson is still in the hospital but is expected to be OK, Cook said. Wilson has been with the department for about two years.
The scene is at State Highway 95 and LBA Drive, outside the LBA Market. That’s about six miles north of State Highway 71. The shooting was reported at 10:36 p.m. The initial call was regarding criminal mischief on Overhill Drive.
Stark left the scene in a vehicle that had a mattress in the rear. When Wilson confronted the driver, that’s when officials say Stark shot Sawyer in the chest and in his forearm, shattering the bone. The suspect then ran into the woods.
A neighbor tipped off law enforcement that Stark was walking down the street, three miles from the scene, where he was later arrested.
Cook said Stark has a history of arrests and is known to the department.
There was a “pretty massive manhunt” for Stark, involving the Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin Police Department, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, La Grange Police Department along with several drones and a plane with thermal imaging technology to help search for heat signatures, Cook said.
APD and Texas DPS had choppers in the air helping search for Stark. Cook said Stark has been arrested around 25 times.
There were bullet holes found in the building, and Cook said he doesn’t have an accurate count of how many shots were fired as of yet. He said investigators found multiple casings at the scene and are separating them to figure out how many shots were fired and by who.
Cook said since Stark ran from the gas station, a lack of a vehicle description is why a Blue Alert wasn’t sent. Stark left a previous scene in a pickup on Overhill Drive where he was “creating a disturbance.”
The 100 Club of Central Texas is fundraising for Wilson’s family through its Critically Injured Fund. It’s used to help “ease some of this burden so Sawyer and his loved ones can focus on his recovery.” To donate, go to the 100 Club’s website or text “100clubcentex” to 44321. You can also mail a donation to the club at 3200 Steck Ave. Suite 240, Austin, Texas 78757 or call at 512-345-3200.
Stark is in jail on a $2 million bond, officials said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responds
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Monday morning following Wilson’s shooting.
“Our hearts are with Deputy Sawyer Wilson as he recovers from injuries sustained while protecting his fellow Texans in Bastrop County,” said Abbott in a statement. “Selfless heroes like Deputy Wilson put their lives at risk every day to serve their communities, and the State of Texas is ready to provide all resources necessary to bring the perpetrator to justice. I ask that all Texans join the First Lady and me in lifting up Deputy Wilson and his family in prayer as he begins his journey to recovery.”