Police Conference Sheds New Light On Courthouse Shooting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/12/05-Tyler

Police Conference Sheds New Light On Courthouse Shooting

We've heard the 911 tapes, We've seen the dash cam video. But there's more. On Tuesday, police shared new information with fellow law enforcement on the Smith County Courthouse shooting.

It happened at the "East Texas Peace Officers Conference". A roomful of officials from across the state, saw how Tyler PD, the Smith County Sheriff's Department and others responded to the crime. You could hear a pin drop in the banquet room during the presentation.

With the help of KLTV 7 news coverage and other images and sound the public has never seen, peace officers in attendance have a greater understanding of the event that terrorized downtown Tyler on February 24th.

Noel Martin, an investigator with Smith County Sheriff's Department set the scene with background on the shooter. "Suspect information... our suspect was identified as David Hernandez Arroyo. He and his wife had gone through a divorce and there was a hearing going on... concerning child support I believe."

"This is Rick's Bar & Grill right here," says Sgt........... Destry Walsworth with the Tyler Police Department pointing at a map of downtown. "When they were coming to the hearing what we found in our investigation, the son was driving the mom to the hearing, 19-year-old David Arroyo Jr........ They saw dad park in front of Rick's and they went ahead and drove and they parked actually over here [in front of the courthouse] when you watch the video if you'll watch you can see them get out of the car here and he follows them all the way over to the east side [of the courthouse] and parks and he gets out and that's when he crosses the road and challenges them."

That begins the never-before-heard exchange among law enforcement on their police radios. Here are some snippets: "We have shots fired on the square!--we have shots fired on the square, we have someone down!" "I've got people laying on the ground from the northwest corner of the courthouse." "Oh man! They're coming from--it appears to be an Hispanic male." "Suspect. Maroon truck. 3, Mary, Frank, 8, David, Northbound Beckham Overpass," says dispatch giving license plate information.

Remember the unforgettable image of the officer riding on the hood of a car with his rifle. That man is Sergeant Rusty Jacks. He did that because thought the gunman got away on foot. The dash cam video of the same cruiser he was on shows Sergeant Jacks getting in the car and joining other officers in the police chase. At this point the other cruisers were ordered to let Sergeant Jacks pass them in the pursuit. You'll understand why in a moment. Sergeant Walsworth explains what happened when Arroyo stopped his truck on Gentry. "John Smith engaged him and he didn't run into the back of him as everybody thought. The suspect stopped and got out and engaged [Smith]and his patrol car and that's when [Smith] took off around him. That's when Sergeant Rusty Jacks he's on our special operations team, he actually engaged [Arroyo]. He came out of the passenger side of the vehicle and engaged [Arroyo] as he was moving trying to get back in the truck after shooting at the deputy. We believe the deadly shots were fired by Sergeant Jacks who actually stopped the threat at that point in time. This is a split image showing where Rusty Jacks was in relation to where the suspect was by the time the shots were fired."

Meanwhile at frantic cry for help at the courthouse continues. Here are snippets from this point in time on the police radio: "Do we have somebody on the square with the people down?" "We need more ambulances at the courthouse." Dispatch responds: "We got two en route and we're clearing another one. We've got four down already." And from a 911 caller: "Our bailiff's been shot." Dispatch: "We've got ambulance and fire on the way, where is he now?" "He's outside the back." says the caller. Dispatch: "The bailiff's outside the back door?" The caller responds crying: "I think he went out, he's been shot and we're gonna need an ambulance."

It was revealed that at the crime scene at the courthouse David Arroyo fired 66 rounds, Citizen Mark Wilson fired 5 rounds from a 45 semi-automatic pistol, and the officers fired 45 rounds. "That's a total of 116 rounds fired in less than 2 minutes," says Martin. And then, the images... Never before seen pictures documenting the behind the scenes investigation. One shows the loaded weapons in Arroyo's truck including a 244 Remington that was scoped, a photo of inside Arroyo's bedroom where police say he loaded the weapons before the shooting. Another photo showed the bullet hole that when through the body of the truck before striking Arroyo in the head.

Martin addressed the autopsy saying Arroyo received several gun shot wounds all over his body. Hie says what the autopsy didn't show was that Arroyo had several bruises all over his torso as a result of getting hit by the gunfire that was stopped by his body armor.

Because Arroyo withstood so many gunshots that hit him, police say it still surprises them he only had "Benadryl" in his system. They do know the body armor he had on was not purchased locally. They say the ATF is still trying to trace it.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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