New Details On Thursday's Deadly Shooting - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/18/07-Henderson County

New Details On Thursday's Deadly Shooting

Twenty four hours later, investigators are still collecting evidence at the scene where two Henderson County Sheriff's deputies were shot and killed Thursday, and a third injured.  There are new details Friday about what happened at the house in Payne Springs, a small community outside Gun Barrel City.  The sheriff's department says the deputies killed and the deputy injured were not the first to respond to the scene.  They also say Randall Mays, 47 was using a high powered scope rifle when he shot the deputies. Mays remains in a Tyler hospital, but has been charged with one count of capital murder. 

It all began late Thursday afternoon when Gerald Nicholson, who lives across the street from Mays, says he heard gun shots coming from the home. The next thing he knew, he saw two deputies get shot and killed, and a third injured.

"I knew he (Randall Mays) was capable of doing things like that, but I could have not imagined he would take it that far," said Gerald Nicholson, who witnessed the shooting.  The sheriff's department says when the first two deputies arrived, Mays pulled out a rifle and pointed it at them. That's when the deputies called for back-up. The back-up included Deputies Tony Ogburn, Paul Habelt and Kevin Harris.  Lieutenant Pat McWilliams says Ogburn was shot and killed first. Habelt who was trying to hide behind his car was hit next.

"The shooter was using a high powered rifle with a scope," said Lieutenant Pat McWilliams, Henderson County Sheriff's Department. "He (Randall Mays) was not standing in the window. He was back in the house somewhere deep in a room and taking cover and shooting, and the officers couldn't see him. They were just firing into the room." The gunshots, McWilliams says would have been too strong for the bullet proof vests the deputies were wearing.   He says both Ogburn and Habelt were struck in the head.

"It just happened so quick," said McWilliams. "You're already in the fire before you know you are out of the fire." Mays, who had been shot inside his home, McWilliams says eventually came out and was apprehended, but not before the sheriff's department lost two of it's finest deputies.

Deputy Kevin Harris who was shot in leg, McWilliams says is expected to make a full recovery. The alleged gunman, Randall Mays underwent surgery Thursday night, but his condition is unknown. So far Mays has only been charged with one count of capital murder for Deputy Tony Ogburn. His bail has been set at $2 million.

Molly Reuter, reporting.


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