SCSO releases statement on Bennett arrest

Mar 26, 2021

Shelby County Sheriff Kevin W. Windham reports the arrest of Matthew Thomas Bennett, 37, of Beckville.

On March 25, 2021 SCSO at approximately 2:17 p.m., deputies were dispatched to a residence on Chalk Street in Joaquin in reference to a burglary of a habitation. Once on scene, deputies made contact with Bennett, and were able to identify him as the suspect in the reported burglary. Deputies began to question Bennett in regards to the incident and he became combative towards the officers.

The SCSO Communications Center confirmed Bennett to have an active warrant for his arrest. Deputies attempted to restrain Bennett and he was non-compliant with their requests. Bennett was tased by SCSO deputies, restrained with handcuffs behind his back and placed in the backseat of a patrol unit.

As SCSO deputies were clearing the scene, Bennett, unbeknown to deputies, worked his restraints to the front of his body, forced his way out of the patrol unit, entered the driver’s side of the unit and fled the scene.

ONSTAR located the unit on an oilfield location site off of FM 699 and all area law enforcement began searching for the suspect in that area. Bennett inflicted severe damage to the unit that caused interruptions with ONSTAR being able to continue tracking the unit. After a lengthy search by law enforcement officials, ONSTAR was able to shut the unit down by enabling the remote ignition block feature installed on the unit.

Chief Deputy Ruth Gonzales and Lieutenant Tanner Peace were patrolling the area where the vehicle was last known to be and spotted the unit at an abandoned residence on FM 699 at CR 4550.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) set up a perimeter around the property and a DPS officer began negotiations with Bennett through the communications radio installed in the unit. After unsuccessful attempts at negotiation, the Center Police Department Special Response Team was able to extract the suspect from the vehicle with assistance from a DPS helicopter.

Bennett was taken into custody at 10:49 p.m., unharmed. He was cleared on scene by Allegiance Mobile Health. He is currently housed in the Shelby County jail and has been charged with UUMV (SJF) $20K bond; Evading Arrest/Detention W/Vehicle (SJF) NO BOND; Escape From Custody (M-A) $10K bond; Resisting Arrest (M-A) $10K bond. He was arraigned by JP1 Donna Hughes.  

This situation is not something that we face regularly in our county. This outcome would have not ended the way it did without the experience and professionalism that so many provided.

To our SCSO 911 Telecommunicators Chelsea Jernigan, Casey Jackson, Evelyn Ordaz and Tiffany Ryals, along with SCSO Administrators Cindy Bradshaw and Leah Chase: you all were the unseen heroes in this situation. Each of you worked tirelessly ensuring communication was provided to everyone on scene. Your professionalism and dedication to our office and this county does not go unnoticed. Each of you worked together and as a whole depicted the true definition of a family. Thank you will never be enough.

SCSO Deputies, THANK YOU. Thank you for serving our county. Thank you for your dedication to our office. Each of you makes sacrifices on a daily basis just by putting on a uniform. We are proud of you, your work, and your dedication to a career that is becoming more difficult each passing day. Thank you for having a servant’s heart.

Center Police Department Special Response Team, you shut the situation down. Your training came in at a time when has never been more needed. Each of you showed up, and without hesitation went in and defused what could have been a tragic situation. Thank you for having our back, and for helping to protect our county in a critical time of need.

Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office – we called and you were here, with a team of officers and equipment ready to take the front line. You stepped in without hesitation. Thank you from all of us.

Shelby County Constables Zack Warr, Taylor Fanguy, Josh Tipton, Jamie Hagler and Roy Cheatwood, we are grateful for your assistance. Each of you always show up every single time you are needed.

To all of the agencies who assisted us on scene, around the area, at the county lines and were on standby: Game Wardens Austin Cryer and Sam Anderson; Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake and deputies; Panola County Constable Bryan Murff; Panola County 911 Telecommunicators; Tenaha ISD Chief of Police David Jeeter, Nacogdoches County SWAT, Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office, Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, DPS officers from surrounding counties, San Augustine County Sheriff Robert Cartwright, Hughes Wrecker; and you, the public – thank you. Thank you for coming to our aide. Thank you for filling the gap. Thank you for endless dedication to our office. We see you, each of you. Just as you provided assistance to us in this time of need, we will show up every time you need us.

Please continue to keep all of our law enforcement officers in your thoughts and prayers. From all of us at the SCSO, thank you for allowing us to serve you. Thank you for accepting us in the community and for supporting us. We are ever grateful. (Pictures of the patrol unit are available on our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ShelbyCountySO)

Sheriff Kevin W. Windham

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