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The Telegram

Following Up

BELTON -- Juan Anzaldua, the 25-year-old man fatally shot by a Belton police officer Jan. 1, was on probation for attempted murder and was wanted for probation violations at the time of his death, according to a felony prosecutor and court documents.

Assistant Bell County District Attorney Mark Kimball -- who in 1995 prosecuted Anzaldua in a stabbing case -- said the Corpus Christi resident and former Bell county man was a fugitive with arrest warrants.

"He'd been on the lam for a couple of years," Kimball said Wednesday. "There were warrants out for him. They (law enforcement) had leads on him a couple of times, but he kept evading them."

Belton police officer James C. Powell shot Anzaldua, after a confrontation following a traffic stop.

Anzaldua fled a vehicle Powell had stopped, at 3:51 a.m., in the 900 block of Interstate 35.

Anzaldua was a passenger in the northbound 1994 Mercury Cougar that police say was pulled over for speeding.

Anzaldua and four other people were reportedly in the Cougar, headed for Temple after leaving a party in Belton.

Martin Anzaldua -- the car's driver and brother of the deceased -- said Juan Anzaldua fled the Cougar because of his probation situation.

"He ran because he didn't want to get arrested but instead got killed," Martin Anzaldua told the Telegram.

Martin Anzaldua said the police officer, Powell, approached the Cougar with a gun drawn.

Juan Anzaldua bolted from the car and ran south across the access road. Powell chased him, on foot, and caught the man behind a business building.

According to the Belton Police Department, Anzaldua charged Powell and Powell shot Anzaldua during a physical confrontation.

Powell is on administrative leave from the department, Belton Police Chief Mike Sleeth said.

The Anzaldua family said it is considering filing a lawsuit.

The Texas Rangers have joined the Belton Police Department in investigating the incident, with findings to be reviewed by the Bell County District Attorney's office and possibly a grand jury.

The attempted murder probation Anzaldua was serving stems from an April 29, 1994, incident in Nolanville when Anzaldua was 18.

Anzaldua was originally charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after stabbing and cutting a man in the neck.

A Nolanville Police Department arrest affidavit dated May 2, 1994, states Juan Anzaldua and another man were driving on a service road, in front of the victim's car, when the incident happened.

The car Anzaldua was in stopped, causing the victim's car to also stop, and a man later identified as Juan Anzaldua "came to his (the victim's) driver's side window with a knife and stuck it through the driver's window, cutting (the victim's) neck."

"The cut to (the victim's) throat was approximately four inches in length," according to the arrest affidavit. The man was also stabbed above an eye.

The indictment in the case states Juan Anzaldua "did then and there as a member of a criminal street gang ... conspire to commit the offense of murder."

Court documents state that on July 27, 1995, Anzaldua pleaded no contest to an attempted murder charge. On Aug. 21, 1995, 264th District Court Judge Martha Jane Trudo placed Anzaldua was 10 years probation.

According to Bell County court documents, in 1995 Anzaldua was also placed on five years probation for marijuana possession and five years probation for cocaine possession. Those cases were unrelated to the stabbing incident.

Anzaldua was wanted for probation violations involving all three criminal cases.

Authorities filed paperwork, to revoke Anzaldua's probation, in April 1998.

According to court records Anzaldua violated probation by twice testing positive for cocaine use, by failing to report to his probation officer, and for several other alleged violations.

Family members said Anzaldua was born in Corpus Christi and moved to Belton when he was about 9.

From there, he moved to Temple about five years ago and was, according to court documents, employed as a laborer.

Family members said Anzaldua returned to Corpus Christi about six months ago and was working at a tamale stand.