Deputies: Inmate shot while trying to escape from Galveston hospital

GALVESTON, Texas – A Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputy shot and wounded an inmate after he tried to escape custody while at UTMB Galveston, according to authorities.

What happened

Sheriff Henry Trochesset said Thursday around noon Dennis Benson, 31, was arrested at the Galveston County courthouse. Authorities said he was at the courthouse for a status conference hearing on some existing charges when it was discovered that he had an active arrest warrant for a new charge.

"He was brought over to UTMB to be evaluated and once he was cleared for incarceration, he was going to be brought back to the Galveston County Jail,” Trochesset said. “Somewhere during the process between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., apparently a scuffle occurred with the deputy and he was attempting to escape and somewhere, we’re trying to investigate right now, he (the inmate) was shot apparently in the leg.”

The deputy shot the inmate in Parking Garage No. 2 on the ground level which is near to the emergency center, according to Trochesset.

He said the deputy was not injured.

As for the inmate, he was in surgery, according to the sheriff.

The investigation

Investigators are looking at surveillance cameras, collecting evidence from the scene and looking into how the inmate was able to try and escape.

Trochesset said part of the Sheriff's Office policy includes having two deputies escort inmates when taken to the hospital. He said all of that is under investigation.

“Part of the investigation, again, I believe he did have a set of leg irons, but I’m not sure if it was on his leg, again, part of the investigation was that part of the fight that started it all,” Trochesset said.

Texas Rangers along with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office were at the scene.

“We’ve contacted the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are out here looking into this and investigating and also the District Attorney of Galveston County, we contacted them, so we’ll let them do their investigation and from that point will go to a grand jury from there,” Trochesset said.

Deputy's experience

He said as part of the standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting, the deputy will be on administrative duty during the investigation.

The sheriff didn’t have an exact time frame but said the deputy has been part of the force for several years.