Oklahoma teens killed in Texas shooting; armed homeowner praised

(Chicago Tribune illustration)

HOUSTON — Authorities were investigating an attempted robbery scene in north Texas on Thursday where two Oklahoma teenagers were found fatally shot — possibly by self-inflicted gunshots — and the local sheriff praised the armed homeowner who fired on the suspected intruders.

Kenneth Chaffin, 17, and Dillon King, 18 — both of Bethel Acres, Okla. — died Wednesday of what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds outside of a house in rural north Texas after exchanging gunfire with the owner, investigators in Texas and Oklahoma told the Associated Press.

Pottawatomie County Undersheriff J.T. Palmer in Oklahoma, who identified the pair to the Associated Press through photographs and distinctive tattoos, did not return calls Thursday.

Officials at Ellis County Sheriff’s Office in Texas confirmed that the teens died after a failed home robbery.


Investigators were awaiting autopsy results, according to a Sheriff’s Office statement released to The Times.

The bodies were discovered after a woman called 911 Wednesday afternoon from her home in a rural area near the town of Maypearl, Texas, 35 miles southwest of Dallas.

The woman said she heard someone trying to turn her back doorknob, looked out and saw a stranger armed with a gun and dressed in camouflage, according to her statement to police.

She called her husband, who arrived in minutes. He yelled at the teenagers and got a gun. When the suspects fired on him, he shot back, possibly wounding one of them, the sheriff’s statement said.


Deputies arrived and found one of the youths dead in a nearby field, shot several times and likely killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the sheriff’s office said.

The other teen was inside a pickup truck that had been reported stolen in Oklahoma on Monday. He was also dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The bodies were taken to the medical examiner’s office in nearby Dallas County.

The woman’s husband was treated at the scene for a minor injury from the shooting, sheriff’s officials said. The homeowners’ names were not released.


“This is a perfect example of how, if the homeowner had not been armed, this incident could have very well had a different, tragic outcome involving our residents,” Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown said.

Investigators told the Associated Press that Chaffin allegedly stole the red 1991 Ford Ranger pickup truck Monday from his parents’ home about 30 miles southeast of Oklahoma City. They said Chaffin also took 17 guns, up to 2,000 rounds of ammunition and prescription drugs.


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