Smith County Officials Say They Were Simply Outgunned - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

2/25/05-East Texas

Smith County Officials Say They Were Simply Outgunned

"The simple fact is we were just outgunned. This individual we have found was shot numerous times, but the bullet proof vest and the flack jacket caused him from going down. So the simple fact is we were outgunned. He had a semi-automatic weapon ,our officers didn't," says Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.

It's a risk they take every single day: law officers armed only with a side arm, usually a handgun or revolver, facing killers like David Arroyo.

"Officers that were in trial or had business in the court such as yesterday, they're not carrying a rifle, they're only carrying their firearm. And you can see by the size of the bullet, initially it was an unfair advantage for sure," says an agent at the Tyler Department of Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Clay Alexander.

It was an unfair advantage they had no way to prepare against. The Norinco MAK-90 Rifle, used in yesterday's shooting, was never under the assault weapons ban, that expired last fall. Even so, some say that ban should be re-enacted.

"There's no reason to have a gun. Guns were made to shoot people, so there's no reason he should have had a gun," says a Tyler resident.

"People who are mentally unstable or have problems have access to those guns now, and that affects innocent people," says Alie Abel, another Tyler resident.

Local lawmakers say even a ban on semi-and full automatic weapons, can't stop a criminal with a plan.

"I agree that there should be a ban on assault weapons, but I do not think that would have prevented this. I don't think they could have done any better of a job than they did. I mean this man had a flack jacket on, he came with a bullet proof vest to protect himself," says Senator Kevin Eltife.

Some residents in town say guns themselves are not the problem, it's the people who buy them.

"I think it's OK to have hand guns, but when it comes to things like assault rifles, things that are automatic like that, that's wrong," says Ali.

"I don't look at situations like this and say we shouldn't have guns. It's people like Mark that those gun laws are designed for. He's a perfect example of the legitimate, law abiding citizen, having a gun, doing the right thing, and having a concealed handgun license. He tried and probably did save a lot of lives by having a gun," says Smith County Assistant District Attorney, Brett Harrison.

"We just need to be thankful that we have law enforcement that we do, and that they responded as quickly as they did, and that someone like Mark Wilson put his life on the line to help others and to save lives. Those are the heroes in this story and God bless them," says Senator Eltife.

Again, the weapon used yesterday, the Norinco MAK-90 Rifle, is not considered an assault weapon.

Officials tell us, the deputy shot yesterday was not wearing body armor. But, they also point out, even if he had been, it wouldn't have protected him against a semi-automatic weapon like the MAK-90 rifle.

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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