DALLAS (AP) — Two heavily armed teenage friends from Oklahoma drove hundreds of miles in a stolen pickup to a small town near Dallas where they were fatally shot during an apparent home invasion, a sheriff's official said Thursday.
Kenneth Chaffin, 17, and Dillon King, 18, both of Bethel Acres in Pottawatomie County, Okla., died Wednesday afternoon in Maypearl, Texas, Pottawatomie County Undersheriff J.T. Palmer said. Texas sheriffs said the teens exchanged gunfire with the owner of the Maypearl property, although they may have died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Early Wednesday, Oklahoma sheriff's officials issued an alert for national law enforcement to be on the lookout for Chaffin who they said had run away from home Monday. 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 a camouflage-clad male armed with a gun.
Her husband yelled and retrieved a gun. Two suspects darted from behind the house and ran toward a field, firing at the home as they fled. The husband shot back and may have hit one of the suspects, Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown said. The woman called 911.
Sheriff's deputies found one suspect dead in the field and the other inside the stolen pickup truck. Both appeared to have died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, the sheriff's department said. No one else was hurt.
Palmer said the suspects killed were Chaffin and King. They were identified through photographs and King had distinctive tattoos on the webbing of his fingers, Palmer said.
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 at all.
"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. Authorities had no clue as to why the teens ended up in Maypearl.
Chaffin's father, Roland Chaffin, told The Oklahoman that his son had never before 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, and Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Ark., contributed to this report.