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Separatist killed in shootout after police dogs are hurt


May 6, 1997
Web posted at: 12:40 p.m. EDT (1640 GMT)

FORT DAVIS, Texas (CNN) -- Texas law officers killed a "Republic of Texas" separatist Monday after he fired at police dogs pursuing him.

The shooting victim was unidentified while another gunman remained at large. The two had fled into the hills before "Republic of Texas" leader Richard McLaren surrendered to authorities over the weekend.

A pack of 30 bloodhounds closed in on the two men -- identified as Mike Matson, 48, and Richard Keyes, 21 -- as they were holed up about a mile (1.6 km) from the compound in Davis Mountain Resorts, a rural subdivision near Fort Davis. It is not known yet which was killed.


Police on horseback and in helicopters shot and killed the fugitive after he fired at police dogs in pursuit.

Three dogs were injured in the brief shootout, and a helicopter was called in to airlift the dead man and the injured animals from the area.

"Shooting a law-enforcement dog is a felony crime," Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike Cox said.

"A Justice of the Peace has been called to pronounce him dead. We can't confirm his identity at this time," police spokeswoman Sherri Deatherage Green said. "The other suspect is still at large."

The fugitive separatists were dressed in camouflage and armed with an assault rifle, a deer-hunting rifle and a .9mm pistol. Keyes is wanted on state kidnapping charges and Matson is wanted for questioning, police said.


McLaren, 43, was indicted on Monday on federal fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly issuing $1.8 billion in worthless financial warrants to militia members, federal prosecutors said.

McLaren and his wife Evelyn McLaren, 50, were charged in a 25-count indictment with bank fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy for their roles in the scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins said.

"These defendants are not proud Texans but paper terrorists, they are not revolutionaries but rip-off artists, they are not patriots but parasites. In short, they are bullies," Coggins said. "Our message to bullies is: 'don't mess with Texas.'"

The McLarens and four other Republic of Texas members surrendered Saturday after a standoff with police sparked by the arrest of one of the group's members on state firearms charges.

McLaren and his followers, who claim Texas is an independent nation, had vowed to defend their "embassy" to the death but surrendered when scores of police surrounded them and prepared to move in.


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