Love triangle ends in shooting

November 23, 2008 8:26:45 PM PST
A Harris County Sheriff's deputy is accused of shooting a fellow law enforcement official. Eyewitness News was there as he bonded out of jail. Investigators say the officers were fighting over a woman. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The suspected shooter is facing charges. The victim is out of the hospital. Detectives say the two men had a long-standing rivalry. It turned into gunfire at a home near Needville in Fort Bend County. The victim and suspect both work for Harris County at the jail. The suspect is a deputy. The victim is a civilian jailer.

Authorities say the jailer had an affair with the deputy's wife and that this shooting was the result over of a year of pent up frustration.

As Jorge Figueroa, 39, left jail after posting bond he refused to answer any questions. He refused to tell us about the shooting that landed him in jail.

Investigators say Figueroa shot a man who'd been having a long time affair with his wife when that man came to Figueroa's home.

Chief Craig Brady Fort Bend Co. Sheriff's Office said, "The husband just finally had enough, it looks like to me, especially with the guy coming to the house knowing that he was there."

Detectives say James Perez, 28, knew Figueroa was at his home near Needville, but they say he went there to talk to Figueroa's wife anyway. Investigators say Figueroa and Perez fought inside the home and that Perez won that fight. They say Figueroa then grabbed a gun as Perez walked away from the home and that Figueroa shot him in the back.

"It's pretty egregious to shoot someone over something like that," Chief Brady said. "There's no justification for it."

A Harris County Sheriff's office spokesman says Figueroa was hired in 1993 and works in inmate processing at the county jail. They tell us Perez was a civilian jailer just hired last year.

Neighbors in the quiet, rural subdivision say they're stunned by the shooting, particularly if it involved Figueroa.

"Very nice people, very polite, always helpful and everything," said neighbor Jerry Tydlacka. "That would really surprise me quite a bit."

You always hear about "love triangles," they say, but rarely do you encounter the heated emotions involved in one in real life. Though Perez had to be flown by emergency medical helicopter to the hospital, he is now home recovering.

Figueroa is charged with aggravated assault. He is out of custody after posting a $50,000 bond.

It's unclear if the gun Figueroa is accused of using was his duty weapon. It was a 45 caliber handgun. Fort Bend investigators say the case is also being investigated by the Harris County District Attorney's office.

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