SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — A string of carjackings in San Marcos left two girls caught in the crossfire.
San Marcos police said on Jan. 22, Officer Stephen Sarver and his K-9 officer Rex responded to the incident.
According to police, the suspect, Christian Lee Guzman, first injured a woman and stole her car outside of the Ecno Lodge Hotel on Guadalupe Street.
Next, police said Guzman attempted another carjacking outside of San Marcos High School.
After that attempt, Guzman tried to steal a vehicle plugged into the Tesla Charging station behind the San Marcos Premium Outlets, SMPD said.
“My initial thought was he’s probably going to do it again if this is his second time, and he’s probably going to look for a target opportunity,” Sarver said.
Sarver said he and Guzman had an intense struggle, as Guzman tried to steal the third car outside of the outlets. At the time, Sarver had no idea there were two girls, a 10 and 15-year-old, inside the car.
The officer said he was able to catch up with Guzman, with help from Outlet security.
According to Sarver, the situation escalated when he approached Guzman outside of the shops, by flashing his squad vehicle’s lights.
“He immediately took off, and then [he] put the breaks on; I actually rear-ended him,” Sarver said.
Sarver said the girls were crying and screaming for help, and Rex was able to block a possible escape path.
“Oh, they were terrified, they were screaming ‘please help!’ and very, very scared,” Sarver said.
Sarver said Guzman then jumped into another car with the girls inside.
“I just wanted to protect the kids at all costs… I used my door popper on my door to get my dog to come to me,” Sarver said. “Rex and I jumped in on the passenger side and the other officers were able to drag him [Guzman] out of the car.”
Rex then turned to comfort the girls.
“He’s good at every aspect that his trained to do,” Sarver said.
Sarver is proud of Rex’s training and glad the girls made it home safe.
It’s uncommon for a K-9 to be trained to spring into action at a moment’s notice, and also, still able to be friendly and social with strangers, Sarver said.
A situation that could have ended worse leaves Sarver thankful he and other officers were able to get it under control.
Guzman is still in the Hays County Jail charged with aggravated robbery, two counts of robbery, interference with a 911 call, endangering a child, evading in a vehicle and on foot, resisting arrest, attempted escape and criminal mischief.