Investigators with the Erath County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a man in connection with the shooting of a 19-year-old Granbury woman in the early morning hours of June 22.
Nineteen-year-old Erik Matthew Bentz was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Investigators identified Bentz as a person of interest in connection with the shooting hours after the incident happened. He was taken into custody for violating a protective order and has been held at the Erath County Jail since June 22.
“Half of our investigators have been working on this case exclusively since it occurred on that Saturday morning,” Sgt. Investigator Ben Moore told the E-T on Tuesday. “And today we finally have enough evidence to charge Erik Bentz with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.”
The 19-year-old victim had been enjoying a night out with friends in Stephenville when things took a turn for the ugly.
“The group was at Allsup’s on the corner of Washington Street and 281 and were getting ready to head back to Granbury when the suspects pulled into the parking lot,” Moore said. “(The suspects) asked the group where the party was and where they were headed, but they felt ignored by the suspect and her group so they chased them down the highway.
“We believe alcohol was involved. This was totally random. There is no evidence the groups knew each other.”
When the vehicles reached Bluff Dale, shots rang out, striking the victim, who was a passenger in the vehicle, once in the hip.
As the vehicle raced to Lake Granbury Medical Center, it was spotted by a DPS trooper and followed with flashing lights.
“The driver called 9-1-1 and told dispatch that his girlfriend had been shot and they were being pulled over by DPS,” Moore said.
Dispatch instructed the vehicle to pull over and they were then escorted to the hospital by the trooper.
The victim was identified by the E-T in a previous story as being a Stephenville resident, but that was incorrect.
She lives in Granbury.
Moore said the victim has been released from the hospital and is home recovering.
Bentz is reportedly from California and in Texas working on a ranch in Gordon.
He also said the case is not over.
“We have other persons of interest we foresee being charged in the very near future,” Moore said.
Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates praised the investigators who worked the case.
“I’m extremely proud of these guys,” Coates said. “They’ve worked really hard.”