|Exchange of gunfire with officers leaves one man hospitalized|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Oct. 24, 2005 - An incident late Saturday involving gunfire concluded with a sheriff’s officer returning fire, shooting a man in the leg. The man, who was not identified by authorities, remained in a Tyler hospital late Monday morning following surgery.
Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp was still investigating the Saturday shooting, and will likely file charges later in the week with the district attorney’s office against the injured man, who is expected to make a full recovery, according to Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams.
Officers were first made aware that something was amiss about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, after receiving a call of a man with a gun on County Road 1211, just off State Highway 154 south, in Arbala. Upon arrival, sheriff’s officers, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Red River Valley Drug Task Force agents and the Texas Ranger, learned that a man in the back yard of the residence had a gun and had already fired at least one shot. Officers began attempting to negotiate with the armed man, trying to get him to put his gun down and surrender.
�After a while, a gunshot was fired and a return shot fired striking him [the suspect],� Adams said Monday morning. �He was taken in custody, so to speak, and transported to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.�
The officer, who officials declined to identify, fired a shotgun which struck the suspect, identified only as a white male, in the leg.
�Our job was to get him to drop the gun and turn himself over to us,� Adams said. �Because of the darkness we could not see him, only flashes [from gunfire]. At least one shot was fired before we arrived and several others after.�
The man was initially assessed by first responders and paramedics and taken first to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital and later flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler where he underwent surgery, and is expected to make a full recovery. Medical officials indicated to local law enforcement that the man will likely be released by the end of the week.
Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp in charge of investigating the incident and will turn over his finding to the district attorney’s office.
Charges will likely be filed against the injured man related to his reckless use of a gun. The specific charges will be up to Kemp and the DA’s office. It was anticipated that the ranger would obtain an arrest warrant that will be served when the suspect is released from the hospital.
The officer who fired the shotgun will remain in active duty, pending the outcome of the ranger’s investigation.
�It was not his duty weapon,� Adams said. �It was shotgun. Whether there are charges is still to be determined. That�s up to the DA. Because it was an officer, it will likely go to the grand jury but that is up to the DA.�