DIME BOX, Texas (KXAN) — The Lee County Sheriff told KXAN one of his deputies was shot and wounded during a shootout with a man in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect is dead.

The deputy, who has been with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for about a decade, was taken by air to an Austin hospital for treatment and surgery, Sheriff Casey Goetz said.

Goetz said as of Wednesday evening, the deputy was still in critical condition and not expected to be released from the hospital for at least a week, but is conscious and improving, and is expected to be OK.

According to the Sheriff’s Office’s latest press release around 9:30 a.m., one of their deputies and a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper were trying to serve a warrant on a man, Raul Vega Perez.

The post indicated law enforcement found Perez near the 1000 block of Stephen F Austin Blvd. when Perez “abruptly entered a home as the deputy and trooper gave chase into the residence.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office stated Perez shot the deputy first, then the deputy and trooper returned fire.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Goetz told KXAN his office got a call Perez was in the area, so they responded to the home around 9:45 p.m.

He said when deputies went to arrest Perez, gunfire was exchanged. Perez was shot and killed during the shootout.

According to an older Facebook post, the sheriff’s office said Perez had a warrant out for failure to appear/sexual assault of a child. At the time, the office said it believed he was armed and dangerous.

Raul Vega Perez (Lee County Sheriff's Office photo)
Raul Vega Perez (Lee County Sheriff’s Office photo)

Online court records show Perez was convicted of several crimes in the 1970s and 80s:

  • December 1975: Aggravated sexual assault of a child, five-year sentence.
  • April 1976: Second-degree rape in Bexar County, five-year sentence.
  • December 1981: First-degree murder in Bexar County, 15-year sentence.
  • December 1981: Ordered to report as a sex offender.

Texas Rangers are currently investigating the case, and the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the scene.

  • A Lee County Sheriff's deputy was shot and injured after a shootout with a suspect in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect, Raul Vega Perez, was shot and killed. (Courtesy of Frank Smith for Giddings Times & News)
  • A Lee County Sheriff's deputy was shot and injured after a shootout with a suspect in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect, Raul Vega Perez, was shot and killed. (Courtesy of Frank Smith for Giddings Times & News)
  • A Lee County Sheriff's deputy was shot and injured after a shootout with a suspect in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect, Raul Vega Perez, was shot and killed. (Courtesy of Frank Smith for Giddings Times & News)
  • A Lee County Sheriff's deputy was shot and injured after a shootout with a suspect in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect, Raul Vega Perez, was shot and killed. (Courtesy of Frank Smith for Giddings Times & News)
  • A Lee County Sheriff's deputy was shot and injured after a shootout with a suspect in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect, Raul Vega Perez, was shot and killed. (KXAN Photo/Julie Karam)
  • A Lee County Sheriff's deputy was shot and injured after a shootout with a suspect in Dime Box Tuesday night. The suspect, Raul Vega Perez, was shot and killed. (KXAN Photo/Julie Karam)

Many neighbors KXAN reporters spoke with said they knew Perez as a nice man.

“Just smiling all the time, help you do anything if you ask him,” said Roger Wubbenhorst, who said he’d known Perez for 20-30 years. “As far as I knew, he was one of the greatest people in Dime Box. Never would’ve dreamt this came down.”

Wubbenhorst said he knew about Perez being a registered sex offender, but not about his murder charge.

I did not know that he had a murder on his rap sheet; I don’t think anybody in town knew it,” he said. “Hate to see it ended that way…And I hope the officer recovers.”

“That’s all we can do; pray for him,” Wubbenhorst added.

Goetz said this is the first deputy shooting in the county since he became sheriff in Jan. 2021.

“In Lee County, dynamics are changing. Society is changing,” he said.

Dime Box is 20 miles northeast of Giddings.