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Justin Hurst Shot By Poacher

March 17, 2007

Justin Hurst Texas Game WardenOn the night of March 17, 2007 Justin Hurst, Texas Game Warden, was shot and killed by suspected poacher Garrett Freeman in Wharton County.

Freeman, 26, had fled after he was approached by another warden who suspected him of illegally hunting from the roadside. The shooting occurred off U.S. 90-A, several miles west of East Bernard.

Warden Hurst was called as back-up, and he and officers from other agencies pursued the suspect. During a 90 minute chase through two counties, the suspects tires were flattened, he then stopped and opened fire on the officers first with a hand gun, then with an AK-47.

Warden Hurst was shot in the torso and leg and died later that night in the hospital. Freeman was also hit during the exchange, but recovered from his injuries.

Hurst started his career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a biologist in August 1995 specializing in waterfowl management along the mid-coast. He was part of the 48th Texas Game Warden Academy and graduated in August of 2002. He served about a year in Brazos County before moving to Wharton County in 2003.


Update: On November 7, 2008 Garrett Freeman was sentenced to death for the murder of Warden Justin Hurst.




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