Tyler Shooting Suspect's Motive Believed To Be A Custody Battle - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/24/05-Tyler

Tyler Shooting Suspect's Motive Believed To Be A Custody Battle

Witnesses say David Arroyo sprayed the back of the courthouse with bullets and fled to Highway 271 near Duncan Street.  That's where he was shot and killed.

"The cop got out in front of him," said witness Victor Betancourt, "and when the cop stopped and they started getting out, I heard about two gun shots. That's when I ran up on the scene."

"Only thing I heard two shots," said Damion Davis. "Two shots when we got to Duncan Street they shot him. One cop was over here with an AK 47, shot the dude and left."

Police told KLTV, 43-year-old Arroyo shot and killed his ex-wife, Maribel, on the courthouse steps. He also shot and wounded his 23-year-old son David Arroyo Jr.

Police say Arroyo had a history of run-ins with the law.  "He has some weapon offenses and violations from the past," said Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle. "So all of that will be thoroughly looked at and investigated."

Arroyo's former attorney, Thad Davidson, believes Thursday's bloodshed was motivated by a custody battle over he and his ex wife's 10-year-old son.

"He had always said he was that he was wrongly accused," Davidson said.  Davidson represented Arroyo in a an assault, bodily harm case just three weeks ago. The charges were filed by his ex-wife and oldest son."

"It was his day to pick up his son, his ex-wife was late to here own house with (their son.) And when he went to pick up (their son), there was a confrontation."

The confrontation occurred after the Arroyos divorce.  Davidson said Arroyo had been worried and stressed about the custody battle.

"He wanted custody of his son, that's what he cared about."

Davidson says he never saw or heard anything from Arroyo that indicated it would come to an end in bloodshed.

Davidson said child support payments were also an issue between Arroyo and his ex-wife. Police say he was due in court for a custody hearing on Thursday when he opened fire near the courthouse.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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