|March 17, 2007
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
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.