|Burglary suspect fatally shot by HCSO deputy
Officers say she pointed shotgun; Texas Ranger leading inquiry
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Nov. 29, 2006 - A woman was fatally wounded Tuesday evening by a sheriff's deputy after she pointed a shotgun at sheriff's deputies, investigators said Wednesday morning. She died shortly after 6 p.m. at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.
The identity of the 35-year-old woman had not been released at 11 a.m. Wednesday as authorities were still attempting to notify the next of kin of her demise. However, authorities did say that the woman was originally from the Hopkins County area but listed a Rowlett address on identification cards.
Authorities refused to identify the deputy who fired the fatal shot until Texas Ranger Phillip Kent, assisted by Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigators Lewis Tatum and Jace Anglin, completes the investigation into the fatal shooting incident, according to Chief Sheriff's Investigator Andy Chester.
The deputy surrendered his weapon to Kemp, who along with Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams will decide later whether the officer should be placed on administrative leave, according to Chester.
"He [the deputy] is right now going on his regular days off," said Chester, who will not be taking an active role in the investigation, as he was at the scene when the shooting occurred. "Whether he is put on administrative leave at some point is up to the sheriff and Texas Ranger."
Sheriff's officers responded at the location after receiving a call at 5 p.m. of a burglary in progress on County Road 2307, about 2 1/2 miles south of Interstate 30.
The residence is occupied by a man identified as the estranged boyfriend of the deceased. Deputies last week took another burglary report from the resident, who had been estranged from the woman since January. The woman was contacted and all of the property stolen was recovered. The estranged boyfriend at that point opted not to continue pursuing burglary charges against her.
At about 5 p.m. yesterday, the resident contacted emergency dispatchers to alert them of a burglary in progress.
"She went back to the residence yesterday. She had apparently left several messages for him during the day in which she told him that she was there and armed with a .20-gauge rifle," Chester said.
Chester, along with HCSO Lt. Dan Mitchell and Deputies Dennis Findley and Paul Fenimore, arrived at the scene about 5:08 p.m.
The officers surrounded the house. One reported he could see the woman through a broken window, holding a large firearm. He called out to her to drop the weapon. The officers took cover as a precaution.
The woman stepped out onto the front porch where Findley, a trained hostage negotiator, attempted to talk the woman into dropping the weapon and surrendering.
After a short while she went back into the house. Chester told the officers to back off until a special response team could be called to the location.
However, before the team could be called in, the woman, with shotgun in hand, stepped out onto the porch a second time. Findley again tried to get the woman to drop the gun.
She did lower the weapon to her side, holding it by the barrel. Just as officers thought the situation might be resolving, the woman lifted the weapon. She pointed it at the three deputies. One deputy fired at her. The bullet struck her upper body, Chester said.
The officers attempted to revive the woman, one holding pressure on the wound while others attempted CPR. Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services personnel rushed her to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup around 6 p.m.
Chester said the officer who fired was the only one who had a clear shot at the woman.
"I don't think I'd have done anything differently out there," Chester said. "She pointed a gun at two officers at first, and the second time at all of us. She swung the gun at one of us then another and the other."
The woman's body has been sent to the medical examiner's office in Dallas for an autopsy. Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp was called in to conduct the investigation, as is standard procedure anytime there is a shooting involving an officer. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Bill Reese was called in by Kemp to help do a full-scale sketch of the scene.