Small Henderson County Community Continues To Mourn - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/19/07-Henderson County

Small Henderson County Community Continues To Mourn

Time to heal.  That's what residents of the Payne Springs community and surrounding areas say they are going to need.  The Texas Rangers have finished up their investigation at the crime scene, but authorities say they are still trying to piece together the deadly shootings.  It was just two days ago, the Henderson County Sheriff's Department lost two of its deputies, Deputy Tony Ogburn, 61 and Paul Habelt, 61.  Kevin Harris, 40 was also injured.  The crime scene may be clear, but the memory of Thursday's horrific events are still fresh in everyone's minds.  

It was a much different scene in Payne Springs Saturday, and a much different feeling. The crime scene tape is down and the investigators are gone, but for those that live nearby, it will always be the place that shook up their small East Texas community.

"Everybody felt it," said Russell Hicks, who witnessed the shootings. "Everybody knows each other. People drive by and look, and now that property has a stigma no matter who lives there. That's the place where two cops got shot." Russell Hicks of Payne Springs witnessed the deadly shootings Thursday. Saturday afternoon, Russell and other members of the community hung up signs letting the law enforcement family know they will never forget.

"We want to show everybody hey we are not a bad town," said Hicks. "We had one incident, but we show support for our law enforcement.  When you lose a couple of officers you have to let the families know, hey they are not forgotten because these signs are going to be up for awhile."  

In Athens, all day people stopped by the peace officers memorial.  People left flowers and notes thanking Deputies Tony Ogburn and Paul Habelt for making the ultimate sacrifice.  "I just want them (Families of Deputies Lost) to know we are all behind them, no matter whether we know them, or met them, we are praying for them," said Jade Rolison, who placed flowers at the memorial. 

Every hour, a different peace officer stands guard, watching over the memorial that will soon display deputies Ogburn and Habelt's names.

No funeral arrangements have made at this time.  The Henderson County Sheriff's Department says the alleged gunman, Randall Mays, 47 remains in the hospital. He's been charged with one count of capital murder.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.


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