Two arrested for firing at deputy during chase

The driver of a vehicle from which shots were fired at a Hays County deputy during a weekend high-speed chase from Dripping Springs to near Johnson City is being held in Hays County Jail on bonds totaling $2 million; while the alleged shooter’s bonds total $1.5 million.

Nathaniel Castro, 22, and Klarissa Soto, 19, are both charged with evading arrest and aggravated assault on a public servant. The latter charge is a first degree felony and is punishable by a sentence of 5 to 99 years behind bars.

According to Sheriff Gary Cutler, who called a press conference Sunday afternoon, the deputy attempted to stop a red 1999 Toyota at around 9:20 p.m. on Old Fitzhugh Road for an “issue with the vehicle’s registration.” The car briefly stopped but then took off and the pursuit reportedly reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour along U.S. 290.

Affidavits in the case say “2 or 3 shots” were fired by the front seat passenger, who was identified as Soto, in the direction of the pursuing deputy before the vehicle crashed near the intersection of 290 and U.S. 281. One occupant was taken into custody, while Castro and Soto fled the scene, apparently taking the weapon with them.

That triggered an all-night search that involved multiple agencies with helicopters, drones, SWAT teams and K-9 units, Cutler said, resulting in the capture of both suspects after sunrise on Sunday.

Cutler acknowledged that calls from residents were key to the apprehensions, but said he could not confirm reports by the Blanco County Office of Emergency Management that the Reverse 911 System was activated in the area where the two were believed to be.

Castro is a resident of El Paso and has a lengthy record of prior incarcerations there for charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon. According to online records, he has been in El Paso County Jail 10 times since 2014. His most recent arrest, on charges including continuous violence against the family and unlawful restraint, was in April of last year and he was released from custody there on Aug. 10, 2019.

Soto, of Manchaca, has no known prior record of incarceration.

According to the affidavits, the deputy, who was joined by others in the case, had been with the HCSO for 3 years and had been “involved in several felony and misdemeanor investigation.

No one was hurt during the incident and Lt. Dennis Gutierrez, the HCSO”s public information officer, says the search for the weapon is continuing.

Bonds for both suspects were set by Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, Place 2 Maggie Moreno.

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