Just after 2:30 Thursday afternoon, Sheriff J.B. Smith says one of his deputies had to make a split second decision for the safety of the public. The deputy, who's name is not being released, shot the 33 year old suspect armed with a loaded gun, just after the suspect allegedly shot another deputy.
"We heard a shot and we didn't know where it came from. A man ran out of the sally port in handcuffs," says Jennifer Johnson, a witness.
No one knows why but, just minutes after returning from UT Health Center at Tyler, Smith County inmate James Edward Jones allegedly turned on the 10 year veteran deputy escorting him back to jail. Deputy Carolyn Hudson was caught in a scuffle with Jones. First, she lost her gun. Then, she was shot once in her right leg as the suspect took off armed.
"She has been with me a long time. This is devastating to the officers," says Sheriff J.B. Smith.
But, the gunfire didn't end at the Smith County jail sally port. Witnesses say a hysteric Jones ran out onto Elm Street.
"He had a gun to his mouth and I saw the situation wasn't looking right and kind of ducked down," says Art Schwartz, a witness.
"And he's hollering carrying on you don't know who he is going to shoot or what he is going to do," says Bill Bobbit, a witness.
Sheriff J.B. Smith says when Jones wouldn't give up the gun, one of his deputys did what he had to do to protect the innocent people in the area of the jail and the other officers.
"One of my officers realized that an officer had been shot and chased him down as he was crossing the street and shot him," says Smith.
A frightening situation that seemed like hours in Downtown Tyler was over in just minutes, but that's little solace to Deputy Hudson's family and friends at the Sheriff's department.
"It will take a while to get it all worked out but anytime an officer is shot you are always concerned."
Hudson is listed in fair condition. As for the suspect, Jones underwent surgery at ETMC and is listed in critical condition.
The Texas Rangers and Tyler P.D. are taking over the investigation.