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Officers cleared of criminal wrongdoing in fatal February standoff

Elizabeth Vinson (Source: Facebook) Elizabeth Vinson (Source: Facebook)
Randy Vinson (Source: Gregg County Jail) Randy Vinson (Source: Gregg County Jail)

A Gregg County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of law enforcement officers involved in the fatal shooting of Randy Vinson on Highway 31 in Gregg County. 

The Gregg County sheriff says officers from multiple agencies responded to a residence on Highway 31 west of Kilgore on February 18 in response to 911 calls of a "man with a gun." When officers arrived, they found the body of Elizabeth Vinson lying outside a vehicle in the driveway of the residence. Witnesses told officers that Elizabeth Vinson's brother-in-law, Randy Vinson, had shot Elizabeth as she sat in her vehicle in the driveway. Elizabeth's daughter and cousin were in the vehicle when Randy approached the vehicle and began firing. Witnesses said that Randy Vinson then fled into the wooded area east of the residence.

Authorities say as additional officers arrived, Vinson emerged from the woods about 200 yard from the home. He climbed onto Rabbit Creek Bridge on Highway 31 and stood on the railing holding a rifle. While officers worked to stop passing cars from driving through the scene, others urged Vinson to drop the rifle and talked to them. An ambulance sent to the home was able to pass as Vinson threatened to shoot the ambulance if it didn't move.

According to the sheriff, about 10 minutes into the standoff, Vinson fired a shot from his weapon. Officers returned fire, causing Vinson to fall from the bridge into Rabbit Creek below. As officers approached the creek, Vinson rose up from the water and retrieved his rifle. At that point, officers fired at Vinson again, killing him.

Vinson's weapon was recovered and identified as a SKS rifle with a 21-cartridge magazine.

The officers who were placed on leave after the incident were identified as:

  • Gregg County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chase Doss
  • Kilgore Police Department Chief Todd Hunter
  • Kilgore Police Department Sergeant Jarod Sears
  • Kilgore Police Department Corporal Kevin Stewart
  • Kilgore Police Department Officer Amos Owings

An investigation into the incident was conducted by the Texas Rangers.

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