Monday, May 21, 2007

Two Texas Deputits Killed in Shooting (The Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Two Texas Deputies Killed in Shooting

Funeral Information Below

Updated: May 21st, 2007 09:55 AM EDT

Courtesy of Jaime R. Carrero/ The Tyler Morning Telegraph

Officers converge on the scene of the shooting that left two Henderson County deputies dead, May 17.

Courtesy of Amy Peterson/ The Tyler Morning Telegraph

Henderson County Lt. Pat McWilliams mirrors the grief of the entire department as he releases the names of three veteran deputies shot.
Courtesy of The Tyler Morning Telegraph

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  • ATHENS, Texas -- Flags are flying at half-staff above the Henderson County Sheriff's Office in Athens this morning following a shootout yesterday that left two of their own dead and one injured.

    The mood at the department was somber.

    "You want to pinch yourself, wake up and find that this just didn't happen," Lt. Pat McWilliams, the department's information officer, said.

    The injured deputy, Kevin Harris, 40, of Athens, is expected to make a full recovery, McWilliams said. Harris was shot in the leg. He is being treated at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler.

    A memorial fund has been set up at First State Bank of Athens in the names of the fallen deputies -- Paul Steven Habelt, 63, a 13-year-veteran from Eustace, and Tony Price Ogburn, 61, Log Cabin, a five-year-veteran. Donations are being accepted at any of the bank's branches, McWilliams said.

    Autopsies for the victims will be performed at Southwest Forensics Institute in Dallas, McWilliams said.

    The alleged shooter -- Randall Mays, 47 of Payne Springs, remains at ETMC Tyler. He was shot in the elbow and side.

    McWilliams said he anticipates Mays will be charged with two counts of capital murder for the deaths, one count attempted capital murder for the injury to Harris and numerous additional charges stemming from the shootout and events that set off the deadly exchange.

    Authorities say Mays opened fire outside his mobile home near Payne Springs after deputies responded to a 911 call. The call came from a neighbor who said Mays pulled a gun on a woman at the home.

    Gerald Nicholson, the neighbor, said the shooting started when officers commanded Mays to put down the gun.

    Officers called for more help and took cover. Mays retreated inside, said both McWilliams and Nicholson.

    Mays allegedly then grabbed a rifle. When Ogden and Habelt, an investigator who was not in uniform, pulled up as part of the wave of reinforcements, they were struck, McWilliams said. Mays and Harris were struck during the exchange of gunfire that ensued.

    Just hours before the shootout, the victims and most of the lawmen attended a tribute to Henderson County law officers killed in the line of duty. During the ceremony, officers were reminded, "you never know the time or the hour you may called on to make the ultimate sacrifice."

    A wreath left at Thursday's ceremony remains on the square in Athens.

    A blood drive previously scheduled at the sheriff's office today will go on as planned. McWilliams encouraged people to give blood in light of the events.

    Republished with permission of The Tyler Morning Telegraph.

    Funeral Information

    Funeral services for Deputy Habelt are scheduled for Wednesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Athens in Athens, Texas.

    Burial with honors will be in Old Goshen Cemetery near Eustace, Texas under direction of Cooper Funeral Home.

    Funeral services for Deputy Ogburn are scheduled for Thursday, May 24 at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Athens in Athens, Texas.

    Burial with honors will be in Oaklawn Memorial Park in Athens, Texas under direction of Cooper Funeral Home.

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