Fugitive may be holed up in attic, Parker County sheriff says

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A prison parolee who fled from a Parker County sheriff’s deputy Monday afternoon was the focus of a manhunt in northeast Parker County late Monday, said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler.

At 9:30 p.m., deputies had set up a perimeter around a house on Cindy Lane where they believed Winford R. Watkins, 44, might be hiding.

Watkins had come the attention of a Parker County sheriff’s deputy about 1 p.m. Monday as the deputy made what Fowler called “a routine check” on a Jeep Cherokee’s license plate. He found that the plate did not match the vehicle, so he pulled it over on Midway Road southeast of Springtown.

Watkins, however, was immediately combative, Fowler said.

“The deputy approached the vehicle, but the driver got out and he had a bunch of papers in his hands,” Fowler said.

The deputy thought he saw a handgun “concealed in those papers,” so he ordered the man to drop it all, Fowler said.

“So everybody’s out there ducking and dodging,” the sheriff said. “This guy is screaming at the deputy, ‘I’m not going back! I’m not going back!’ I’m assuming he meant prison.

“But this dude reaches into his car and gets a four-way lug wrench. He walks over to the patrol car and starts beating on it. Well, the deputy knows that in that patrol car is a loaded AR-15 rifle, and the deputy ain’t about to let him get ahold of that AR.

“The deputy popped off a couple rounds, but nobody gets hit.”

The man got back into the Jeep and drove off, and the deputy pursued him, Fowler said.

The man drove to nearby Cindy Lane, where he got out of the car and ran off into the brush, leaving a female companion on the side of the road. The woman told the deputy Watkins’ name.

Fowler said a tracking dog followed the man’s scent to a house where the owner said he knew Watkins. The homeowner said he recently installed 12 inches of new insulation in the attic and noticed some of it on the floor, which was odd.

Deputies pumped CS gas into the attic and waited to see if Watkins would appear.

No gun was found in the Jeep Cherokee, so searchers were assuming that Watkins is armed and dangerous, Fowler said.

Watkins has been to prison twice, Texas Department of Criminal Justice records show.

In 2008, he was convicted in Dallas County on two counts of possessing a controlled substance (one for cocaine, one for methamphetamine), burglary of a building and two cases of credit card abuse.

He was paroled in 2010, but six months later he was convicted again of possessing a controlled substance, “meth habitual,” according to TDCJ. He was paroled again in 2012, the records show.

Records also say he was about to complete his latest parole at the end of this month.

“I feel sure that will be revoked,” Fowler said.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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