Multiple Departments Investigate Deputy's Homicide
Sergeant Craig Hutchinson was shot and killed behind his Round Rock home early Monday morning
By Chase Hoffberger, Fri., July 29, 2016
The Travis County Sheriff's Office is reeling this week as it investigates the events that led to the shooting death of one of its own deputies. Sergeant Craig Hutchinson was found dead near a creek behind his Round Rock backyard Monday morning after requesting backup from his colleagues.
Hutchinson, a 32-year veteran of TCSO who was set to retire in September, had just come off of a shift and was still in uniform back at his house early on Monday morning when he heard noises coming from a shed in his backyard. Suspecting a robbery, he called Round Rock's emergency communication center asking for backup at 1:22am, saying then that he saw an undetermined number of people running through his backyard, according to Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who gave an address early Monday morning outside Hutchinson's house on the 2000 block of Oak Meadow Drive. Officers from both Round Rock PD and TCSO arrived at Hutchinson's house at 1:32am to find Hutchinson laying close to a creek behind the backyard.
Hutchinson was taken to Round Rock Hospital and pronounced dead there. TCSO remains unclear about specifics and has yet to report any information about potential suspects. Hamilton says that equipment has been removed from the shed in Hutchinson's backyard. The office has set up a tip line at 512/671-2767.
Hamilton said he received a call shortly before 2am while he was at the Sheriff's Association of Texas Annual Training Conference and Expo in Grapevine, just northeast of Dallas. He drove back and got to Round Rock Hospital just as Hutchinson's body was being transferred to the vehicle that would take him to the Medical Examiner's Office on 12th and Sabine, where he was delivered shortly after 7am. Hamilton, who was dressed in civilian clothes when he addressed a pool of reporters, said he had known Hutchinson since 1985, and that the two worked in the jail Downtown together before Hutchinson went out on patrol. "He was my field training officer," Hamilton said, his eyes teary and glossed over. "This is near and dear to me. This guy was a big teddy bear. Everybody loved him. I think he was about 6'4", weighed about 275 [pounds]. He taught me everything I know. He was my field training officer, and I loved that guy to death."
This is the first death of a TCSO officer since the Sept. 2014 drowning of Deputy Jessica Hollis in Lake Austin. It is the first shooting-related death since Deputy Keith Ruiz, who was shot dead during the execution of a search warrant in Feb. 2001.
A press conference Tuesday afternoon at Round Rock Police headquarters revealed little more than that RRPD is working in conjunction with the TCSO, FBI, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and has yet to make any arrests.
Sgt. Hutchinson's funeral will be held at 10am on Tue., Aug. 2, at the Shoreline Church (15201 Burnet Rd.).
Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.