Birthday party turned into early morning fatal shooting, suicide
HENDERSON COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -
A birthday party turned fatal early Friday, with two dead and two hospitalized after multiple shootings.
The party was happening at a home in the 300 block of Wood Street in Seven Points when the first shooting happened just before 2:30 Friday morning.
The suspect then shot himself in a different location nearly two hours later after a short police chase.
A group of friends gathered at Kelsie "Shea" Maples' home in Seven Points Thursday night to celebrate her birthday - including her former boyfriend and the father of her child, Nathan Benton.
"For some reason she wanted him to come over here to see her last night and he was coming to give her a birthday present," said Shea's brother, John Maples.
John Maples said Benton drove up and down Wood Street for about five minutes before he pulled into the driveway.
"Everybody started mouthing. And another girl that was here had him talked into leaving and had his truck in reverse, fixing to leave," said John Maples. "More words got said and he slung his door open and went to shooting."
Witnesses said Benton shot Shea Maples first in the stomach. He then shot Jerry Wayne Foster in the neck. John Maples said Jerrod Chamberlain was running away when he was shot in the back. Chamberlain was pronounced dead at a Gun Barrel hospital, and Maples and Foster were airlifted to a Tyler hospital.
Henderson County Sheriff's officials say Benton left the scene in his car. Authorities found him nearly two hours later at a Seven Points intersection. They attempted to stop him, and Benton drove away.
"The chase was a very short chase. It went maybe a quarter-mile down a county road, then he turned off and went behind a house, and probably three or four-hundred yards out behind the house before he wrecked the vehicle," said Major Botie Hillhouse of the Henderson County Sheriff's Department, who was involved in the chase.
Benton shot himself in the head at the scene. He was pronounced dead at a Tyler hospital.
John Maples said the whole event has been a shock to him and his family, and he's upset about the deaths of two people he called good friends - including Benton.
"He's been in our family for a little while now, and he just lived a hard life. And all of it built up and he didn't have anybody to go to," he said. "And it all came out at one time."
Maples is listed in good condition and Foster is listed in critical condition tonight at a Tyler hospital.
The Texas Rangers, the Henderson County DA's office, and the Henderson County Sheriff's office are still investigating the two crime scenes.
Sheriff's officials say the case will eventually go to a grand jury.