EARLY, Texas -- A Good Samaritan with a good aim is credited with saving the life of a small-town cop who was under fire.
Vic Stacy, 66, was inside his trailer at the Peach House RV Park in Early, Texas, roughly two hours southeast of Abilene, when he heard gunfire. One of his neighbors, Charles Ronald Conner, had shot and killed David Michael House, 58, and Iris Valentini Calaci, 57, allegedly in a dispute over their dogs defecating on his property. Witnesses say Conner shot David House first, then stood over his body and fired a second time. They say he killed Calaci in the same manner.
The first officer on the scene, a sergeant from the Early Police Department, also came under fire.
"I’m just a citizen trying to help an officer out," Stacy told the Brownwood Bulletin. "That’s what I was trying to do."
Conner, armed with an assault rifle and hiding behind a tree, began to fire at the officer, who took cover behind his patrol car. Stacy came out of his trailer and saw the officer was pinned down and wouldn’t have a clear shot. But Stacy felt he had a good angle and might be able to help with a lucky shot from his .357 magnum pistol.
"And I thought he’s fixin’ to kill that boy," said Stacy. "And that’s why I squared off and hit him in the leg and knocked him down."
Police estimate Stacy was shooting from as much as 150 feet away.
"I saw him turn the gun around toward my direction and I saw him throw another one in the chamber and he took another shot at me. And that’s when I put three more in him," said Stacy.
Investigators say Stacy hit his neighbor four times. The officer, also armed with an assault rifle, hit the suspect at least twice. They do not know whose shots killed the suspect. Either way, police praised Stacy for his help.
"Any time you take someone’s life, it’s not an easy situation," said Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs. "You know I guess the main consolation on this is I think he helped save the officer’s life, kept him from driving into an ambush."
"So that’s the way it is, you know," Stacy said to the Brownwood Bulletin. "A man’s just gotta live with it now."
The police sergeant was not injured. Stacy was originally handcuffed and questioned at the scene when other officers arrived. But he was quickly released when the officer he helped save explained what happened.