FORT WORTH -- A man who broke into a Tarrant County home Saturday night, then died after a fierce struggle with the homeowners, may have been conducting surveillance on the home beforehand, sheriff’s officials said Monday.
Chief Deputy Mike Simonds said the intruder, identified Monday as Heradio Ibarra, 44, of Fort Worth, was wearing multiple layers of clothing, had binoculars with him, and had made a comment to the homeowners during the home invasion that he was aware the female homeowner’s mother was inside the home.
“The fact that he had binoculars would certainly lead you to believe that he had been watching the house from a distance,” Simonds said.
Simonds said the multiple layers of clothing may have been used by the robber to protect himself while waiting in the brush behind the home on Westfork Trail.
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Ibarra, who had no criminal history, died at the scene of multiple stab wounds, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.
Investigators have found no indication that Ibarra knew the homeowners, Fort Worth firefighter Ron Huddleston, or his wife, Jill Huddleston. The man was believed to have been inside the Huddleston's home for 30 to 45 minutes before deputies arrived, Simonds said.
In a 911 recording released by the department Monday, Jill Huddleston can be heard pleading with dispatchers to send help quickly as she and her husband held Ibarra down.
“Please hurry. We’re all bleeding,” Huddleston said. “We have got the guy down. I have stabbed him several times. Hurry up.”
Ibarra can be heard in the background, asking for the couple to kill him.
“No! Jail will be fine for you,” Jill Huddleston told the man. “Because you know why? My husband and I are Christians. Obviously you didn’t give a s---.”
In the call, Jill Huddleston tells dispatchers that the intruder wanted money.
“I don’t understand this ma’am. We work hard for a f------ living. We don’t mess with nobody. We keep to ourselves. I don’t know why he picked us out.
“We had $50. He was going to kill us for $50.”
Simonds said investigators believe that Ibarra entered the home through an unlocked door leading from the back porch into the master bedroom. He said the two homeowners were sitting in a den in the next room watching television when they were confronted by the robber.
“He was able to come up from behind them from the master bedroom,” Simonds said.
Ibarra, armed with a pipe, hatchet, bindings and a gun, demanded money from the couple.
Simonds said the homeowners complied, giving him a coin collection from the master bedroom and less than $100 cash from the den area.
“The suspect demanded more. They offered up their vehicles,” Simonds said. “Sometime around that point, the suspect struck Jill Huddleston, and that’s when the homeowners began to fight back.”
Sheriff’s officials said the couple used items around the house -- including a kitchen knife and a potted plant -- in the attempt to defend themselves.
Investigators have determined that Ibarra gun was unloaded.
“During the course of the fight, I believe the husband actually got the gun away from him and attempted to use it on him and it wouldn’t fire,” Simonds said.
Deputies, responding to the 911 called placed by Jill Huddleston on her cellphone, arrived to find the intruder still attacking the victims. Ibarra, who had been stabbed multiple times during the struggle, died while deputies were trying to restrain him.
The Huddlestons were released from a hospital Sunday. Both suffered lacerations in the struggle, and Ron Huddleston broke his arm and a finger, officials said.
Investigators are still trying to determine if a second person was involved in the robbery. A canvass of the area had not uncovered a get-away vehicle.
“It’s possible that someone dropped him off or it’s possible that there is just a vehicle out there that we haven’t been able to locate yet,” Simonds said.
The incident marked the second time this month in Tarrant County that a robber was killed during a home invasion.
Dakota Scott Benoit, 20, of Richland Hills was shot and killed Sept. 3 while trying to rob a couple in their Blue Mound home.