By LeaAnne Klentzman
Thursday night, January 5, about 9 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic violence call at a home in the 7300 block of Tara Blue Ridge in the Tara subdivision. When the first deputy arrived on the scene he found the victim and her assailant in the garage of the home. According to Sheriff’s spokesman Bob Haenel, the victim had severe injuries to her head and arms.
As the deputy approached and asked the suspected assailant Kerry Beal, to step outside with him, Beal bolted for the inside of the house. When deputy gave chase, Beal hurled a box at him causing the deputy to fall and injure his ankle. Many more deputies arrived shortly thereafter.
Once inside the home, Beal barricaded the door with a couch and fled the residence after setting it on fire. Once deputies got into the backyard they realized the house was on fire. Some searched for potential victims while others were on the hunt for the 46 year old Beal. The house fire was under control by 10:30 that night.
While deputies were securing the scene on Tara Blue Ridge they secured the victim and her two grandchildren at a neighbor’s. After the scene was secure, the victim was taken to a Sugar Land hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, law enforcement was setting up the manhunt for Beal. More deputies arrived on the scene and a request was made for assistance from the Houston police department’s helicopter unit. The dragnet was set up in and around the Tara and Greatwood communities where Beal was last seen.
Hours later Beal was spotted by a deputy in Greatwood and a foot chase ensued. According to Haenel, a deputy and a sergeant tried to end the foot chase when they both hit Beal with their Tasers; that did not stop him. Eventually he was tackled and taken into custody in the 1500 block of Forest Bend.
While one set of deputies were tracking down Beal, others were dealing with the victim and her grandchildren. During that phase of the investigation deputies discovered that Beal had doused the victim with lighter fluid and attempted to set her on fire. He was only unsuccessful because the lighter malfunctioned said Haenel.
So far, Beal has been charged with attempted murder, assault of a public servant, and fleeing. After the Fire Marshall has completed his investigation, Beal may likely face more charges.