1 dead, 1 hospitalized after lawn mower dispute shootout

ANDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

ANDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A dispute over a lawn mower turned deadly when two East Texans shot each other. The shootout killed one man and put another in the hospital. The violent confrontation happened in the 4400 block of State Highway 155, just north of Palestine.

As authorities investigate the shooting, relatives of the deceased say that the lawn mower did not belong to either of the men.

"They were friends," said Tamika Miles, the widow of Tracey Polley. "That's what I don't understand. They were friends."

A friendship that turned deadly when Tracey Polley and Chester Staples turned on each other.

"It appears the altercation was over a lawn tractor that the deceased, Mr. Polley, had," said Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor.

Miles says her husband put money down on a mower that Staple's was selling.

"He gave him probably like $60 and told him he'd have the rest of the money - give him a couple of days to come up with the money," said Miles.

Authorities say Staples arrived at Polley's home on Tuesday evening, looking to collect the balance for the mower.

"He was there to retrieve that lawn tractor and the deceased didn't want him to retrieve it," said Taylor. "An argument ensued and then the gun fight."

"They just shot each other," said Miles. "I said, 'What?!' So I ran out the door and I was coming out the door that's when I saw my husband fall to the ground."

Sheriff's deputies arrived and found both men laying on the ground, bleeding.

"I was telling him, 'Don't you leave me. Don't you die on me. Don't you die on me,'" said Miles. "I had no idea that he was shot five times."

Polley was pronounced dead on the scene. Staples suffered a gunshot wound to the face and remains in an East Texas hospital. Both men have criminal records in Anderson County, and authorities said it is possible the lawn mower was stolen. The news was shocking to Polley's wife.

"The lawn mower didn't belong to either one of them," said Miles. "It was stolen from a church...He died over something that wasn't even his."

It was a tragedy, for everyone involved. No charges have been filed.

The Anderson County Sheriff's Department continues their investigation.

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