Attempted murder charges expected
Shots fired in apparent child custody dispute

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

July 12, 2005 -- A 22-year-old Kentucky man was jailed Tuesday morning on three counts of attempted murder after he was accused of firing at least 10 rounds from a pistol at a vehicle occupied by his 10-month-old stepson, the child's father and uncle.

Shortly before noon today, police were still questioning the parties involved in the incident, which began at Buford Park about 10 minutes before 8 a.m. Tuesday and concluded a short time later with the Kentucky man being taken into custody at the police station.

"It was quite a deal this morning," Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said following the incident. "We received a call of a shooting in progress at city park at about 7:51 this morning. 911 started going off, and the phones were ringing for a while; it was mass confusion."

From what police had ascertained, the infant had been living in Kentucky with his mother and stepfather. The trio journeyed to Buford City Park in Sulphur Springs, where they met the infant's father for a brief visit with the child. The father, a Hopkins County resident, took his son and got into his vehicle along with the infant's uncle. As the man was driving off, with the infant being held in the seat by his uncle, the stepfather fired several shots at the vehicle with a pistol, Bayuk said.

Officers recovered 10 shell casings from the gun at city park, and determined at least three of the bullets struck the vehicle, according to Lt. Rusty Stillwagoner.

"The baby is fine," Bayuk reported. "Child Protective Services has been contacted and are here as we speak. I just thank the good Lord that child was not injured. Some of those shots did hit the car."

Neither the child's father nor his uncle were thought to have been injured in the incident

The Hopkins County man drove to a Main Street convenience store, then behind a local business where police located them. The child's mother and stepfather, at the urging of dispatchers, reported to the police department, where the Kentucky man was taken into custody.

Police indicated they were still unsure why the stepfather had the gun, whether he had the proper permits to carry it, and why he fired it at the moving vehicle.

"It is my understanding the parents were never married," Bayuk said. "As far as we know, the father's intent was to take the child and keep him in Texas. I don't believe there was any kind of paperwork filed [regarding child custody]. We contacted CPS in Austin and the CPS here. It will be their determination who gets the child or where the child goes."

No decision had been made by CPS regarding the custody or placement of the child shortly before noon Tuesday. The boy's stepfather is expected to be formally charged on three counts of attempted murder.

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