TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - A recently hired San Jacinto County Sheriff's deputy under investigation for an Aug. 6 shooting that wounded a man also fatally shot two men in separate incidents while an officer with the Beaumont Police Department last year.
Sheriff Greg Capers confirmed in a statement Wednesday that Deputy Chase Welch shot 48-year-old Vance Chastean May during a security check shortly before midnight at a Chevron convenience store in the 6800 block of U.S. 190 in Point Blank. May, who was shot once in the shoulder, is expected to recover.
The San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office has not responded to The Advocate's open records request for more details surrounding the Aug. 6 shooting and has not released any information regarding why the deputy was called to the convenience store.
The Sheriff's Office, Texas Rangers and FBI are continuing to investigate the incident.
The 26-year-old Welch, who is a former Marine, started July 25 with the Sheriff's Office, according to information obtained from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Records show Welch, who received his peace officer's license in January 2012, resigned from the Beaumont PD in February following the two fatal officer-involved shootings just seven months apart in 2016. Grand juries declined to indict him in both shooting cases in Jefferson County.
According to the Beaumont Enterprise, also a Hearst newspaper, Welch, who also previously had been disciplined for inappropriate use of potentially deadly force, shot and killed Herbert Ballance IV, 22, at a 23rd Street trailer park in Beaumont using a scoped rifle on March 5, 2016. In the moments prior to his death, Ballance had held a stolen handgun to his own head and ignored police orders.
The bullet fired from Welch's rifle struck Ballance in the back of his mouth before exiting his scalp, according to a previous Enterprise report. The bullet then lodged in a neighboring trailer.
On Oct. 14, 2016, Welch was off-duty when he shot and killed 23-year-old Chaz York, of Vidor, outside a popular Beaumont bar, the Enterprise reported.
York was struck five times by Welch's Glock 27 .40-caliber handgun as Welch unloaded eight shots. York was 15 feet away from Welch when he was struck in both arms, right thigh, chest and back, piercing both lungs, according to the Enterprise.
York had been involved in an altercation inside the bar and had been escorted outside by bouncers. Welch also had been inside the bar prior to the shooting, the Enterprise reported.