A Paris man died as a result of a gunshot wound from his own pistol Sunday afternoon during a dispute with another Lamar County resident over a woman, sheriff’s investigators said Monday morning.
Anthony Floyd Earnest, 38, of Paris was rushed by ambulance to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:10 p.m. by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup. As is standard procedure, an autopsy is being conducted at the medical examiner’s office out of town.
Sheriff’s officers were first alerted something was wrong at 3:30 p.m. Sunday when dispatchers received a call of a fight in progress in the parking lot of Joe Bob’s on State Highway 19 at FM 71. During the conversation, the caller reported someone had been shot.
Deputies David Ray and Koby Hume, and Cpl. Gary K. McLarry, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Trent Price, North Hopkins firefighters and Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services were dispatched to the location.
Unbeknownst to the feuding pair, DPS Trooper Ken Adams and Delta County officer Paul Carter were among the gathering of people who happened to be in the parking lot when the fight broke out. The pair were both said to have been off-duty and happened to have stopped while traveling through the area. They took control of the scene until other officials could get there. Texas Ranger John Vance also later assisted in the investigation.
After interviewing numerous individuals, including the other man involved in the tussle, Earnest’s ex-girlfriend who is currently married to the other man involved in the confrontation, Earnest’s 12-year-old daughter and other witnesses, sheriff’s deputies discerned that the Lamar County man and his wife had a fight in Rains County earlier in the day. The man drove off and left his wife, who called Earnest, with whom she’d previously been involved and lived, to come get her. As Earnest was traveling south to get her, the woman resumed traveling north with her 41-year-old husband. The couple stopped at Joe Bob’s on SH 19 north. Earnest saw the couple at the store and pulled into Joe Bob’s parking lot, according to Hopkins County Sheriff’s Investigator Lewis Tatum.
Earnest left his daughter in his truck and went to confront the other man. The pair scuffled. Earnest went back to his truck and retrieved a pistol, a .357 SIG, and went back toward the other man. The fight continued. As Earnest was switching the pistol from one hand to the other the gun went off. The bullet reportedly pierced his torso. The wound was fatal, according to Tatum.
After statements were taken from those involved, deputies opted not to file charges at this time against the 41-year-old Lamar County man. They will present the statements and reports made regarding the incident to the district attorney for further action. Generally, in cases such as this, the district attorney presents the information to the grand jury to decide whether to issue an indictment against the Lamar County man in relation to the incident, Sheriff Butch Adams explained Monday morning.
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