BOWIE COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office is honoring a couple that helped law enforcement track down a murder suspect who shot a deputy in the face.

On Friday, Sheriff Jeff Neal recognized Johnny and Victoria Stevens for their heroic acts on the night of August 6, when police say 32-year-old Hector Alejandro Pintor Aguilar shot Lt. Scott Lillis in the face during a traffic stop near the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and South Kings Highway south of Texarkana. Police say Aguilar opened fire on the deputy as he approached the passenger side of the stolen vehicle.

The Stevens were passing by when they witnessed the shooting and followed the suspect’s vehicle while calling the police.

“I seen the officer take two steps back and that’s whenever he was shot and he didn’t have any backup,” recalled Johnny Stevens. “There were no other officers at the scene and our only initiative was not letting the guy get away.”

The couple says they followed Aguilar for about 12 miles before law enforcement took over.

“I was scared, I was, but after seeing Detective Lillis be shot, we had to find him or try to,” said Victoria Stevens.

The couple says they had no idea at the time that the man they were following was already wanted for murder. Aguilar became the subject of a massive manhunt after he shot two people in Hooks just before 1:30 p.m. that day on a private road just outside of Hooks. Serafin Garcia-Alanis, 55, died as a result of his injuries. A 52-year-old woman suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Aguilar was later found dead in a vacant home on Roy Road the next day, following an hours-long standoff.

Lt. Lillis lost an eye but suffered no brain trauma. The sheriff’s office says he is home now recovering and he is expected to eventually be able to return to work.