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Etoile Man Killed During Gunfight With Nacogdoches Deputies

kevin koonce
Nacogdoches County Jail Office

Kevin Barrett Koonce, 46, from Etoile was shot and killed this morning on Highway 103 as an exchange of gunfire between a Nacogdoches Sheriff’s deputy and Koonce took place. 

According to a release from the Nacogdoches Sheriff’s Office the Texas Department of Public Safety Swat team, United States Marshall Office, the precinct 4 Constable Office along with the Sheriff’s Department conducted a joint operation to execute a high risk felony search and arrest warrant in an attempt to arrest Koonce.

Sheriff Jason Bridges stated that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for the offense of motion to revoke probation with the original charge being Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon 2nd felony. The warrant was issued for Koonce’s  arrest on July 17, 2012.

Since that time, deputies have attempted to locate and execute the felony warrant several times to apprehend Koonce but were unsuccessful. During this time the Sheriff Office has gained information that Koonce was heavily armed and has made statements that he would not be taken alive. Sheriff Office has also gained information and had personal knowledge that Koonce has a history of being violent and also learned that he was bipolar and off his medication.

During the last eight months, the sheriff Office has made numerous attempts to reach out to Koonce’s family members and his attorney to seek a peaceful surrender. Recently the Sheriff Office and the United State Marshall Service gained information of a positive location on where Koonce was living on County Road 466 in Etoile.

Sheriff Bridges stated that after many months of attempting to have Koonce turn himself into authorities , no progression in the case was being made . Koonce was being seen at times by the public in which he was always armed. Koonce was using social media sites and posting rhetoric about weapons, law enforcement, and anti-government issues.

It was believed by law enforcement that Kevin Koonce was becoming more of a threat to not only to law enforcement but the general public as well. On Monday morning, August 5th,   the Nacogdoches County Sheriffs Office obtained a search warrant to enter onto the property of Kevin Koonce. On Wednesday morning around 5:00, law enforcement officials arrived in Etoile. While staging for the execution of the search warrant, a vehicle was observed driving down the road that Sheriff Jason Bridges recognized as possibly associated to the suspect.

Deputies then attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle to see if the suspect was inside. The traffic stop occurred on highway 103 just west of Etoile. The driver of the vehicle stopped on the side of the roadway. The driver then immediately jumped out of his vehicle and came running at the patrol unit opening fire with a pistol in his hand. The Deputy was able to escape his patrol unit and take cover. The Deputy was forced to return fire on the suspect in an attempt to stop the suspect’s actions.

EMS was on scene within a matter of minutes to give medical aid to the suspect. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered.

The Deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave and the Nacogdoches County Sheriff Office is conducting an internal investigation. The Texas Rangers are also conducting an investigation into the shooting.

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