Austin/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 23, 2024
Retired Gunnery Sergeant Killed in Northwest Austin Shooting, Suspect ArrestedSource: Unsplash / Michael Fortsch

An Austin family is grappling with an irreparable loss after 49-year-old Stephen Mark Peterman was fatally shot outside his home in an early morning altercation this past Monday. While walking his dog, Peterman, a retired Gunnery Sergeant and Texas Gas Service worker, allegedly confronted 37-year-old William Jewel Daniels, whom police say was attempting to break into his work vehicle. CBS Austin reports that what should have been a simple disruption of a burglary turned deadly when Daniels fired multiple rounds at Peterman.

Daniels, a man with a history of legal infractions dating back to 2005, was swiftly arrested in connection to the murder after detectives successfully matched a handprint found at the scene and reviewed surveillance video, FOX 7 Austin detailed. Neighbors in the normally peaceful Northwest Austin community now are to urgently reconsider their sense of security after this shocking incident shattered the early morning quiet.

The Texas Department of Public Safety records obtained by CBS Austin paint a picture of a man who had past run-ins with the law, including theft, aggravated robbery, and unlawful firearms possession. "He shouldn't have still been out on the streets," Peterman's sister, Hannah Smith, lamented in an interview with the station, highlighting the personal devastation felt by a family abruptly torn apart.

"It still doesn't seem like it could be real or be possible that this is the reality, that he's not part of our lives anymore," Smith told CBS Austin, voicing the anguish of a family now faced with a life sentence of grief. Described as a senseless taking of life, the tragedy leaves behind a widow who found her husband on the street after waking up to the gunshots, a point underscored by both FOX 7 Austin and CBS Austin.

The Texas Gas Service, where the victim was employed, released a statement to CBS Austin mourning the loss: "We extend our deepest, heartfelt condolences to the family of our co-worker." As details about the incident continue to emerge, the community and Peterman's loved ones await to see if justice will be served.