A frightened Erath County resident found herself caught in the middle of a burglary in progress last week.
According to Sheriff Tommy Bryant, a multi-agency effort and help from concerned citizens led to the arrest of the suspect a short time after the woman placed a call for help from inside a closet.
Leonardo R. Morales, 20, remained in the Erath County Jail Monday, where he is being held for burglary of a habitation and resisting arrest. He is being held on a $200,000 bond, according to jail records.
Bryant said law enforcement officials received the call for help at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"The sheriff's office got a call from a lady who said a burglary was in progress at her residence on Lingleville Highway (FM 8) about three miles west of Stephenville," Bryant said. "She said the suspect had broken a window and gained entry into her home. She was hiding in a closet with a pistol when she placed a call to 911 from her cell phone."
Bryant said after the homeowner made the call, the suspect fled, running on to Lingleville Highway.
"He was running down the highway and waiving down traffic," Bryant said, adding that several citizens attempted to subdue an obviously agitated Morales.
Bryant said law enforcement officials at the scene said Morales' demeanor was similar to behavior typically exhibited by users of PCP.
At one point, Morales allegedly gained entry into a civilian-owned truck and attempted to flee the scene. Bryant said it was then that a TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) employee attempted to remove the suspect from the vehicle.
In addition to sheriff's deputies, Bryant said officials from the Stephenville Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the scene to provide "tremendous" assistance.
He said the effort to apprehend the "combative" suspect led to Morales being tasered several times by Stephenville police.
"Officers at the scene were finally able to take him to the ground and place him in handcuffs," Bryant said.
Morales was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville for examination and to have the taser darts removed.
"He was still combative at the hospital," Bryant said, adding that the suspect tried to rip out intravenous tubes from his body. "He was eventually released from the hospital and taken to the county jail."
In regards to the incident, Bryant said he was happy that the combined effort between law enforcement officials and concerned citizens left only one individual with minor injuries. He said a civilian's arm was injured in the attempt to apprehend Morales on Lingleville Highway.