Man found dead in house fire after killing girlfriend, shooting at Sugar Land officer, police say

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Couple appeared to have fun hours before both die, family says
Officials found a body believed to be the boyfriend while they worked to clear the home after it was set on fire. An investigation will determine if he died in the fire, injured himself, or was shot by the officer.

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- A man and a woman are dead after a domestic dispute overnight led to a shootout with a Sugar Land police officer.

The man and woman were identified as 38-year-old Alton Sandles and 43-year-old Lantonia Faulk, according to Sugar Land police.

Police said it all started just after 11 p.m. Sunday at a home on Issacks Way in the Chimneystone neighborhood when Faulk called 911, telling dispatch that her boyfriend was assaulting her.

Investigators said the first officer who arrived at the home saw Sandles shoot Faulk. Police say Sandles then shot at the officer, who fired back. The officer was not injured, and it is unclear if Sandles was hit by the gunfire.

The investigation into exactly what happened is ongoing.

After the exchange of gunfire, Sandles went back inside the house.

Two more SLPD officers arrived at the scene and helped rush Faulk to an ambulance. She died from her injuries at the hospital.

Initially, it was believed Sandles escaped from the home and was on the run. Because of this, officers put out an alert to neighbors to lock their doors.

But about an hour after shots were fired, police said smoke started coming from the house. Then, the home went up in flames.

"As they're trying to provide the lady with medical assistance, they didn't know if he ran out the backdoor or not. And then we started receiving multiple calls from people hearing noises," Asst. Chief James Davis said. "So, we didn't know if he left, and that's why we put out the message to all the neighbors to stay in their houses and lock their doors. But they quickly learned later on that it was probably him still in the house."

"There's just a gas can burning at the entry door," officials reported on radio traffic. "We have witnesses saying we might have somebody on the ground. I need a drone up. We need a drone to start walking down this entire area of this neighborhood."

After further investigation, police believe the boyfriend set the home on fire and never actually left. Firefighters found a body believed to be Sandles while they worked to clear the home.

Investigators said it's unclear if Sandles died from the fire, if he injured himself, or if he was shot by the officer. His cause of death is still being investigated.

"We started to smell smoke in the house. Because it was an active scene, the fire department had to stage. And with their assistance, we were able to outfit our guys with some of their gear," Davis said. "As we were clearing the house, we came across a male inside the house. We do believe that is the male who fired upon the female and fired upon the officer."

Video from a neighbor shows the home engulfed in flames. The fire destroyed the roof.

"We heard a bunch of gunshots and we thought they were fireworks at first," Woody Salazar, a neighbor, said. "There were so many."

Faulk's 15-year-old son was inside the home while everything unfolded. Police said he was not injured. Family members at the scene told ABC13 he's now with his biological father.

Family members also said the couple had been out together just hours before the 911 call was placed and appeared to be having fun. They had been together for five years.

The Texas Rangers are investigating alongside SLPD.

"It was really bad," a neighbor who spoke with ABC13 said.

Police said officers have responded to two prior family violence calls involving Sandles and Faulk, though neither were at the Issacks Way address.

Officials said in each instance, including Sunday evening, it was Faulk who called the police to report Sandles for domestic incidents.

Faulk refused to file charges against him in the previous instances, but a Sugar Land Police spokesperson told ABC13 they arrested Sandles in July 2020 due to the call.

Officials said there was no instance of an arrest being made when officers responded to the same kind of call in 2021.