MAYPEARL, Texas (AP) — A Texas sheriff said Thursday that he does not expect any charges will be filed against a man who opened fire on two heavily armed Oklahoma teenagers during an attempted home invasion on his ranch.
Kenneth Chaffin, 17, and Dillon King, 18 — both of Bethel Acres, Okla. — died Wednesday afternoon in Maypearl, Texas, authorities said. Their bodies have been sent for autopsies.
Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown said that officials think both teens died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, but said that the homeowner fired two deer rifles and struck one of the teens.
"I'm thoroughly convinced that had they not had a way to defend themselves, it would have turned out a different direction," Brown said.
Early Wednesday, Oklahoma sheriff's officials issued an alert for national law enforcement to be on the lookout for Chaffin, who they said ran away Monday from his home, which is about 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. The alert said he had stolen his parents' red 1991 Ford Ranger pickup truck, a stash of prescription medication, 17 guns and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
On Wednesday afternoon, a homeowner in Maypearl — 35 miles south of Dallas and some 240 miles south of Bethel Acres — noticed someone was trying to open her back door. She looked out the window and saw an armed man in a camouflage vest. Brown said that the woman called her husband, who was elsewhere but returned home shortly thereafter.
As the two suspects fled toward a field, they fired at the home, which is located in the middle of a fenced-off ranch with donkeys grazing outside.
"The house is full of holes," Brown said.
The husband returned fire and the woman called 911. Sheriff's deputies found one suspect dead in the field and the other inside the stolen pickup truck. No one else was hurt.
Much of the roads leading up to the home are dirt or gravel. Brown said authorities do not know why the teens came to that house.
"Unfortunately, the answers to those questions died when they did, because we don't have a clue why they were out there in that area," Brown said. "It's beyond me why they would be that far out other than they were looking to take something, or do harm."
Pottawatomie County, Okla., Undersheriff J.T. Palmer said Chaffin and King were identified through photographs and because King had distinctive tattoos on the webbing of his fingers.
The teens lived about a mile apart in Bethel Acres but authorities had no idea the two were together when Chaffin was reported missing, Palmer said, adding that King was not reported missing.
"We didn't actually know there was a second one until we got the call from Ellis County, Texas, that two suspects were killed," Palmer said.
Chaffin's father, Roland Chaffin, told The Oklahoman that his son had never been in trouble with the law and had no family problems before he ran away.
"Kenneth was a follower, not a leader. That's what we figure. He followed someone and got in over his head," Roland Chaffin said.
Palmer said Wednesday that Kenneth Chaffin had taken nine handguns, six rifles and two shotguns from his parents' home.
"My son's not an angel. I'm not saying that he is," Roland Chaffin told the newspaper. "But the Kenneth we know was not capable of this."
Associated Press writers Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Okla., Ken Miller in Oklahoma City, Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Ark., and Terry Wallace in Dallas contributed to this report.