Deputy shoots, kills suspect during scuffle

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX It was just before 2am Tuesday morning when two deputies were called out as backup because of a rowdy party in the Timber Lakes / Timber Ridge subdivision. On the way, they noticed someone driving erratically and pulled the suspect over in his driveway.

"The officers were exhausted. It was a very violent encounter," said Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

According to the sheriff's office, the suspect, Matthew Rife, 26, initially gave deputies a fake name and date of birth. Authorities searched his car and found drug paraphernalia. When they tried to handcuff Rife, he tried to escape.

"They tackled the suspect about 75 yards from the original scene," said Lt. Norris.

One of the deputies tried to Taser Rife, but the Taser gun didn't work. That's when the scuffle took a turn for the worse.

"One of the deputies felt the suspect trying to pull his gun from his holster," Lt. Norris said.

Fearing for his life, the deputy found himself on the defensive. Rife was shot three times by Deputy Margarito Rosales, 33, during a violent struggle. One gunshot wound was in the abdomen, one gunshot wound was in the chest and one was in the wrist.

The gunshots killed Rife. His death left neighbors and close friends angry about what happened and shocked about why Rife had to die in front of his own house.

"My understanding was he wasn't armed and I don't think it's right for them to shoot him like they did," said family friend Kenneth Smith.

Rife was on probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He also had prior drug, assault and auto theft convictions.

Both deputies sustained minor injuries in the struggle. They'll be placed on mandatory administrative leave, which is standard procedure for deputies involved in deadly encounters.

Deputy Rosales has been with the Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Office for just over a year, while the other deputy involved, Deputy David Borchardt, 34, was hired in January 2010.

The investigation is ongoing.

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