Crime Spree suspect surrenders after being holed up in barn in Atascosa County

Robert Escamilla Jr. faces several charges

Law enforcement officers surround a barn in Atascosa County where a crime spree suspect was holed up.
Law enforcement officers surround a barn in Atascosa County where a crime spree suspect was holed up.

POTEET, Texas – A 26-year-old Poteet man went on a crime spree in Atascosa County that ended when he surrendered to more than 30 law enforcement officers waiting for him outside of a barn he was holed up in, Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward said.

Robert Escamilla Jr. faces several charges including evading arrest with a motor vehicle and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Soward said the crime spree started Monday night when sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a burglary north of Poteet.

Poteet police officers attempted to stop a 2019 white Ram pickup that was later determined to be stolen from Pleasanton early on Tuesday morning, Soward said.

“Poteet PD lost sight of the truck and it was later spotted by sheriff’s deputies on FM 1470 northeast of Poteet,” Soward said. “Deputy Sheriff J. D. Ruiz pursued the truck to Price Road northwest of Poteet, where the truck ran into a fence and the driver fled on foot.”

Robert Escamilla Jr., image courtesy of Atascosa County. (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Deputies chased Escamilla on foot and recognized him as the suspect in the burglary from the evening before. However, the suspect escaped on foot, Soward said.

On Tuesday morning, a rancher just north of Poteet told police that he saw a John Deere tractor on his property that belonged to his neighbor. When the rancher got close to the tractor, Escamilla got out and pointed a semiautomatic rifle at him, Soward said.

Texas Department of Highway Patrol Sgt. Bobby Bratten requested aircraft assistance from DPS in San Antonio. A 200-acre area was quartered off to keep Escamilla contained, Soward said.

“Officers spotted the suspect running on foot through the fields on the old Dr. Faggard Ranch north of Gatesvalley Road,” Soward said. “He was seen entering a hay barn in which officers surrounded as a DPS helicopter hovered above.”

A PA system was used to communicate with Escamilla and law enforcement officials were able to talk him into surrendering. Soward said over 30 officers responded and were on the scene within 30 minutes.

Deputies located a Ruger Mini-14 .223 caliber rifle about six feet off of the ground in a nearby tree., Soward said. The rifle was also later determined to have been stolen out of a pickup truck from another nearby farm.

Pleasanton Police will be filing charges regarding the theft of the 2019 Ram truck, Soward said.


About the Authors:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.