Suspect in slaying of Mineral Wells boy is shot to death

Estaban Pacheco prayed that his 23-year-old son, accused of kidnapping and killing a 4-year-old Mineral Wells boy, would peacefully surrender.

It didn't happen.

Arturo Pacheco-Barrera was shot and killed by authorities about 2 p.m. Sunday in a rural area about seven miles south of Mineral Wells, authorities said. Mineral Wells is about 50 miles west of Fort Worth.

Mineral Wells Police Chief Mike McAllester said that the shooting doesn't end the investigation into the kidnapping and death of 4-year-old Salvador Briones Jr.

"We believe there could have been a second suspect," McAllester said Sunday, but he provided no other details.

On Sunday afternoon, a landowner reported that a suspicious man with a backpack was walking through a pasture, McAllester said. Authorities identified the man as Pacheco-Barrera after they arrived.

Pacheco-Barrera refused orders to surrender, McAllester said. At some point, officers fired two shots at the Mineral Wells suspect, McAllester said. He declined to identify whether the shots were fired by city police, Palo Pinto County Sheriff's deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers or FBI agents.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Pacheco-Barrera had a weapon, the chief said. The backpack he dropped when first confronted by officers contained a fully loaded handgun clip but no gun, McAllester said.

"A burglary had been reported on Saturday near that area," McAllester said. "A handgun was taken. When the man dropped the backpack in the pasture, officers found a clip from the gun that had been stolen."

McAllester said he visited with the Briones family Sunday after the shooting.

Authorities had been looking for Pacheco-Barrera since late Friday, when he slipped away from police as he was being questioned in the kidnapping and death of Salvador. The child's body was found Friday night in a vacant building on U.S. 281 in Mineral Wells after he was reported missing Friday morning from his parents' home.

The suspect's father, Estaban Pacheco, talked about his son in a telephone interview with the Star-Telegram on Sunday afternoon before his son was killed. Estaban Pacheco could not be reached late Sunday for additional comment.

Estaban Pacheco said he was at his home in Mineral Wells on Friday night when his son arrived with authorities.

"I asked him just one question, 'What kind of problem have you gotten yourself into?'" the 49-year-old man said, speaking in Spanish. "He didn't say a word to me."

Authorities then began grilling the 23-year-old man, asking him what he had done with the boy.

"When I heard that, I couldn't believe it," Estaban Pacheco said.

Estaban Pacheco said his son had had a few speeding tickets but no other legal problems. His son had worked at a Mineral Wells machine shop for years, had bought a house in Mineral Wells this year and planned to be married next month.

"He had been staying at my house because he was fixing up his new home," Estaban Pacheco said.

On Friday, Salvador's father received a call at work demanding a $15,000 ransom for the boy's safe return, his aunt Perla Ramirez told the Star-Telegram.

The child was home with his mother, a 7-year-old sister, a 2-year-old brother and a 1-month-old girl, but was asleep in a separate room when the kidnapping occurred, Ramirez said. No Amber Alert was issued. Authorities used dogs and search teams and a helicopter in the area where the man eluded authorities.

Estaban Pacheco said Sunday that he had not seen his son since Friday night.

"It's all in God's hands," he said.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram