TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A gunman opens fire, shoots an East Texas mother, then turns the gun on himself say authorities.
Shortly after 2 o'clock Monday morning, Tyler police responded to reports of gun shots on the corner of Hospital Drive and Beckham, just yards away from East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. They found the body of 29-year-old Charles Bell in the street with a gunshot wound to the head. We're told his victim, Amber Pinkney, is recovering well in hospital.
The suspect's blood still stains the pavement. Flowers lie at the base of a nearby oak tree with an ETMC cup as their vase. Police say the victim was on her way to work at the hospital with no clue her ex-boyfriend was waiting for her with a .38 revolver.
"Don't know if there was a verbal confrontation, or if he just opened up fire on her," said officer Don Martin with the Tyler PD.
Police say Charles Bell shot Ms. Pinkney three times before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide on the street. Ms. Pinkney, with a gunshot wound to the hand, to the shoulder and to the face, was able to make it to the ER just yards away.
"It's very fortunate that she survived this," said Martin.
Shattered glass from the window of Amber Pinkney's SUV still litters the ground. Police say there were no domestic calls in the past, but a criminal trespass investigation is still ongoing.
"The family's very thankful," said Pinkney's uncle, Joe Mitchell, who joined other family members at her Smith County home Monday afternoon.
"Life is precious," said Mitchell. "As far as I'm concerned, this is something that's totally unnecessary, that shouldn't have happened and [I] hope that we can think through our actions before we actually take them."
The Smith County judicial website details Charles Bell's multiple arrests for disorderly and deadly conduct. And, while one of their own recovers, one family reaches out to another.
"Our prayers and best wishes are with them," said Mitchell. "We're sorry that it happened and we wish them well."
ETMC released a statement, saying, "Amber is an exemplary employee, a team player and is always ready to step in to help others. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as she recovers."
Amber Pinkney has worked as a clerk in the ER for two years. Police tell us the shooter, Charles Bell, is also the father of Ms. Pinkney's little girl.