HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A Hays County Sheriff’s deputy is recovering at home after an “ambush” and shooting in Wimberley Friday morning. Deputy Benjamin Gieselman was released from the hospital late Saturday evening. The suspect was killed in the shooting.
Deputies rushed to the 11500 block of Ranch Road 12 after a 911 caller told dispatchers an armed man was trying to break into Jean’s Antiques. Sheriff Gary Cutler believes the caller was the suspect himself, 26-year-old Rocky Miles West.
The shooting happened around 3:48 a.m. at Spoke Hollow Road near Ranch Road 12. According to the sheriff’s office, Gieselman, 28, was one of four deputies responding to the 911 call.
The sheriff said deputies did not find any evidence of a break in at the shop, but dispatchers were able to give the exact location of the 911 caller, who placed the call from a cell phone. The location was home to West, a man the sheriff said his department knew well.
West’s address is about a quarter-mile behind the antique shop. The sheriff said West was hiding behind a rock wall alongside Spoke Hollow Road and began shooting at deputies with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Three of the four patrol vehicles were shot, and Gieselman was hit in the legs and upper body. He was flown to a nearby hospital with what the sheriff’s office described as “non-life threatening” injuries. Gieselman, the sheriff said, was shot with bird shot, the smallest pieces of lead a shotgun will fire.
“You’ve got to understand, these officers are very lucky — their cars got shot pretty good,” Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said at a news conference. “Very lucky. I mean, the shooter was at such a close distance to those cars with a shotgun and it’s pitch dark up there, it’s not a lighted area, there’s no street lights. There’s no houses that close to it — an isolated area out there, it’s dark. Like I said, he’s behind a 3 foot rock wall — if that.”
Sheriff Cutler said he estimated the first shotgun blast into one of the first responding patrol cars happened when the deputy was within 20 yards of the shooter. The deputies returned fire as the suspect ran into nearby woods. Deputies found West dead and investigators believe he was shot and killed by deputies.
According to HCSO, West had an extensive criminal history and the sheriff’s office was very familiar with him. He was arrested most recently in October 2017. West’s previous arrest was in January on a charge of assault with bodily injury stemming from a domestic incident, the sheriff’s office reported.
Cutler says the Texas Rangers are conducting a parallel investigation. It and the sheriff’s office are going through the 911 tape, as well as body camera footage. They are interviewing friends and family as well.