Sgt. Adam Phillips, a Greenville Police Department spokesman, said in an email on Thursday, “Those individuals do not work for and are not associated with any police department, especially NOT the Greenville Police Department.”
Rick Ford, the Nissan dealership’s president, said that the showroom was involved “by circumstance” in the “tragic and isolated” episode, and that the showroom would remain closed until June 5.
Randy E. Pruett, a spokesman for the dealership, said in a telephone interview that the dealership did not have advance notice that the two men were going to arrive, but once on site, they told the dealership management that they had a role in law enforcement and were waiting for someone, probably to arrest.
“There were two law enforcement, outside for much of the time, hanging out, looking like they were customers looking at cars, looking very unobtrusive,” he said. “At no point did anyone even begin to think it would escalate like this.”
“It goes back to private investigators and this type of law enforcement,” Mr. Pruett said. “Did they handle it properly or not?”
The shooting in Texas was the latest to draw scrutiny to bounty hunting.
In April, seven bounty hunters in Tennessee opened fire on a vehicle that they believed held a fugitive they were seeking, but mistakenly killed an innocent man. The seven men were charged with murder and other charges in May.
Earlier, the profession entered mainstream American popular culture with the A&E cable network reality series “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” which ran for eight seasons, ending in 2012. It featured Duane Lee Chapman, a felon turned bounty hunter who ran down criminals and bail jumpers in Hawaii and Colorado, and in at least one controversial episode, in Mexico.
Regulations for bounty hunting are determined by states. In Tennessee, bounty hunters, also known as recovery agents, may carry weapons but may use deadly force only in cases of self-defense. In Texas, the bounty hunter regulations say force may be used if seen as necessary to execute the arrest.
The Greenville Police Department and city officials are not investigating whether procedures were followed because the bounty hunters were not employed by the city.
“However, the individuals were not wearing ballistic vests, which our officers are issued and required to wear when assigned to our patrol division,” Sergeant Phillips said in an email. Such vests were found in the bounty hunters’ vehicle, he said.
A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.
Mr. Garcia and Mr. Bernal worked for F.N.G. Security And Investigations, a company based in Corpus Christi in business since 2001 whose motto includes the promise: “If you lose them, we will find them.” On the website, Mr. Garcia describes a long history of expertise, with advanced degrees and years in law enforcement.
A call to the company on Thursday was not returned. It was not immediately clear who hired the pair to arrest Mr. Hutchinson, who was wanted for a failure to appear in court on a first-degree drug charge in Hennepin County, Minn.
On Tuesday night, at about 7 p.m., Mr. Garcia and Mr. Bernal were at the Nissan of Greenville lot when Mr. Hutchinson arrived with a woman who was trading in a vehicle, Mr. Pruett, the dealership spokesman, said.
The Greenville City statement said the investigators, weapons drawn, approached Mr. Hutchinson. He tried to pull a gun from his waistband but dropped it. There was a scuffle, but Mr. Hutchinson was able to retrieve his gun. Then came the gunfire.
“I am hiding in the bathroom. Please hurry. Someone is shooting in the building. Please hurry,” a woman breathlessly told an emergency dispatcher, according to a recording of a 911 call released by the authorities.
The three men died at the scene.
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