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BCSO: Man holds people at gunpoint, fearing conspiracy to kill him

James Vance

The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office filed additional charges against James Vance, 39, after officials say he fired on deputies Saturday, March 26, when they attempted to arrest him for holding three people at gunpoint. Burnet County Sheriff’s Office photo

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The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office charged 39-year-old James Vance with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he reportedly held three people at gunpoint because he thought there was a conspiracy to kill him.

Vance is currently being held in the Burnet County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

On Saturday, March 26, a family member of the suspect arrived at the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office at about 9:40 a.m. after fleeing from a home in the Deer Springs community, where he and his wife remained throughout the night, according to an arrest warrant affidavit signed by Burnet County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead. 

The man told Deputy Travis Simer that Vance arrived at the home in the 300 block of Deer Springs Drive at about 10 p.m. Friday, March 25, agitated and claiming that people were trying to kill him. According to the victim, Vance said he shot someone in Pontotoc, Texas, before returning to Burnet.

Mason County Sheriff Joe Lancaster said his office had not heard of any such incident in Pontotoc, nor has anyone been reported missing. He reached out to San Saba County authorities, who also reported they hadn’t received any calls about a shooting in the Pontotoc area.

The victim said Vance forced him to his knees and held him at gunpoint in the Deer Springs home’s driveway for about an hour. The man told the deputy “he feared for his life during the incident,” according to the affidavit.

Eventually, Vance allowed the man to go into the home. The victim and his wife locked the doors, but Vance told them they couldn’t leave. On Saturday morning, the couple fled from the home and hid in nearby woods until the woman’s parents picked them up and took them to the Sheriff’s Office.

A second pair of victims arrived at the Sheriff’s Office at 10:22 a.m. Saturday with a similar account involving Vance but at a different location the day prior to the Deer Springs Drive incident.

Two brothers told a deputy that Vance held them at gunpoint for several hours Thursday, March 24, at a house in the 100 block of Pecan Lane. One of the men stated, according to the affidavit, that Vance arrived at the home at about 7:15 a.m. that day and pointed a shotgun at him.

Vance told the victim he believed he was part of a conspiracy to kill Vance. 

The man feared for his life.

The second man arrived at the Pecan Lane home shortly afterward. Vance then held both men at gunpoint. The second man told deputies that Vance “went ‘crazy’ and explained that everyone was out to kill him,” according to the affidavit.

Eventually, the victims were able to get Vance to release them after about three hours.

Later on Saturday, March 26, Burnet County deputies attempted to arrest Vance, but not before he tried to hide in the Deer Springs area, triggering a manhunt and the use of the reverse 911 emergency notification system. Law enforcement eventually located him and took him into custody. He was booked into the Burnet County Jail. 

If convicted on the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges, Vance faces up to 20 years in prison.

daniel@thepicayune.com