LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Lufkin Police now say Maurell McClendon, 86, possibly shot twice by officers after he allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife on Friday, has died.
Police have also released the names of the officers involved.
According to Detective Smith the officers were veteran officers who have been with Lufkin police for a combined 25 years. Officer Ray Hightower joined the Lufkin Police force in November 2001, Smith said. Officer Randy Stallard has been with LPD, 17 years at the end of this month, having joined the force in August 1993. It has been determined that both officers fired their guns during Friday's shooting.
"Mr. McClendon died at 11:30 last night at ETMC Hospital in Tyler," Lufkin Police Detective J.B. Smith said. Smith said police are unsure what exactly caused McClendon's death.
McClendon had been transferred by helicopter shortly before 8 p.m. in critical condition to ETMC Friday night from Memorial Health System, according to hospital spokeswoman Yana Ogletree.
Police records indicate the first emergency call came at 5:56 p.m. Friday and the first officers arrived less than two minutes later. According to Detective Smith, the shootings occurred at 207 Garvan Street. "The call came into dispatch from neighbors who said a man had shot his wife and was sitting on the front porch with a shotgun," Smith said.
Police said 78-year old Christine McClendon was pronounced dead at Memorial Health System, the apparent victim of a gunshot wound to the chest.
Smith said the preliminary investigation indicates that when officers arrived they found a man, later identified as Maurell McClendon on the front porch armed with a shotgun. Witnesses told investigators that the initial officers on the scene commanded McClendon to "drop the gun," but instead the alleged shooter moved toward his ex-wife who was already down. There are conflicting reports that McClendon fired a shot at his ex-wife before officers shot him. "Ballistics will help determine that part of the investigation," Smith said.
"Officers engaged the shooter with gunfire," according to Smith, and the man was shot, "possibly by one of the officers." Smith also said Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas is investigating. He said many details of the shootings are still unclear at this time. He added LPD is also conducting a separate investigation and is assisting the Texas Rangers.
"The initial police officers involved in the shooting will be given paid time off as needed, pending the outcome of the Ranger's investigation," Smith said.
All available Lufkin Police units had been called to the scene and police had barricaded the streets near Paul and Garvan in "Lufkin Land." They had urged residents and curiosity seekers to stay clear of the area.
Neighbors told authorities that Maurell McClendon and Christine McClendon, though separated, lived next door to each other. The incident has left family members shocked and grief stricken.
Shortly after the shooting occurred a throng of onlookers gathered to watch as police officers arrived to investigate. KTRE reporter Holley Nees said the crowd was orderly, however, as a precaution, backup officers were called to help with crowd control.
Lawmen from several law enforcement agencies had also responded to the scene. In addition officers had been at the hospital for security and crowd control. Memorial Health System spokeswoman Yana Ogletree said because of the size of the crowd, the hospital had been placed on lock down for a period of time, but had since returned to normal operating procedures.