Comanche County sheriff discusses deputy’s decision that led to scare at Wichita Falls Walmart

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — We’re getting clarity on what caused a stir in Walmart late Friday night.

Police said Ken Esparza was given a ride to Wichita Falls by Comanche County Sheriff’s officials before he tried to steal a gun from Walmart.

Officials said Esparza went into the sporting goods section, got a bat and shattered the glass to gun cabinets trying to remove and use guns. According to reports, he even had the key and tried to remove a lock on a gun.

Esparza was arrested on five felonies and two misdemeanors.

Those charges include aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, terroristic threat to a public servant and criminal mischief.

Sheriff Kenny Stradley said his deputies had no reason to believe Esparza would do any harm to anyone. They were just helping the community like they always do.

“I told ’em go ahead and take him to Wichita Falls, he was going to San Antonio,” Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley said. “He was homeless. Didn’t have any money. And instead of leaving him on the turnpike where somebody would run over him at 2 o’clock in the morning, I thought it was best to get him off the turnpike. I had no reason to arrest him.”

This may seem out of the ordinary, but Sheriff Stradley says this is common practice from Comanche County deputies.

“We built this department on we care,” Stradley said. “We’ve given a lot of people rides different places because we’re not only just law enforcement. We also care about people and help people.”

While Comanche County may operate under this policy, Wichita County cares in a much more unique capacity.

“We won’t take somebody, pick ’em up, take ’em to another state and drop ’em off,” Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said. “We do pick up people on the highway if they’re broke down and either help ’em with their vehicle. get it started, get help or help them stay with ’em.”

For Sheriff Stradley, this is just a case of helping people gone wrong.

“Little did we know that he would get to Wichita Falls and have some kind of problem,” Sheriff Stradley said. “Don’t know what happened to him cause we didn’t have that problem with him here in Comanche County. Again I apologize again.”

Sheriff Stradley also issued a formal apology to Wichita Falls police chief Manuel Borrego.

Sheriff Stradley says this is one issue out of decades of helping people so he will continue to go the extra mile for Comanche County.

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