Deputy Gunned Down In Bowie County - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/1/06-Bowie County

Deputy Gunned Down In Bowie County

A Bowie County deputy thought he was going on a call to help a motorist in trouble, instead he's shot and killed with his own gun.  Deputy Michael Page, 34 had been with the Bowie County Sheriffs Office for three years.  The shooting happened early yesterday morning on FM 992, just north of the small community of New Boston.  The small town is shaken by the news that a well known and well liked deputy was shot to death.

"I was devastated," said New Boston Resident Melinda Mannette.  "I couldn't believe something like that happened here.  "It just goes to show that these officers never know what they're facing.  They never know what they're up against".  Deputy Page was answering an accident call when he began pursuing a suspect in a stolen car, Henry Leon Wakefield, 36.  Wakefield ended up crashing into a telephone poll.

"He kind of panicked and tried to start the car, and when he couldn't it he got out and took off running," said Witness Ronald Baker.  "After that I seen the cop chasing him and everything and started hearing gunshots."  Page caught Wakefield on Daniels Chapel Road, and the two struggled.  Investigators say Wakefield somehow wrestled Pages firearm from him and shot Page once in the chest, then disappeared in the woods.

"This hurts," said Bowie County Sheriff James Price.  "It hurts real bad. It's a bad thing to have this happen.  I feel like I've lost one of my own children."  Page later died at a Texarkana hospital, and a massive manhunt was launched for Wakefield.

"For him to have gone to help someone that had an accident, and then get killed, it's just tragic," said Mannette.  Police dogs were called in, and hours later authorities found Wakefield in a wooded area dead of an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound.  For those who knew Deputy Page, it's a loss that has hit them hard.

"He was a good guy," said New Boston resident Toni Moore.  "He was a good guy.  I think it's really hit the community hard."

Page leaves behind a wife and two small children.  Funeral services for Deputy Page will be Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Texarkana.  

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.


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