LONG BRANCH Texas (KLTV) - A small Panola County community is joining the rest of East Texas in mourning the loss of Panola County Sheriff’s Dep. Chris Dickerson, who was gunned down by a suspect during a traffic stop on Tuesday morning.
The community of Long Branch considers Dickerson a hero, along with two of his fellow deputies, because of an incident that happened in 2017.
“My dog jumped up on my bed, woke me up about 2 in the morning,” said Purvis Young. “Literally my home was already of fire, and I couldn’t get to my wife.”
Young ran outside, calling out for help for his wife.
“Chris was the first one on the scene. The smoke and the flames were coming through the window, and I couldn’t get to her," he recalled.
Bodycam footage showed Dep. Dickerson going into the burning house to save Young’s wife.
“He came running around the corner of the house to the window where I was. Chris went in the window, and got my wife, and brought her to the window. By the time he got to the window, there was another deputy there.”
Dickerson even saved the family dog, Blue.
“Yep, and he weighs 104 pounds,” Young chuckled.
The news of the deputy’s passing has hit the whole community hard.
“Everybody loved Chris. He was a young guy, a good family man, he was just a very good guy,” resident Joe Ritter said. “He wanted to protect everybody, make sure everybody was safe.”
“Ruthless. To take a young man’s life, that they didn’t even know,” Young said.
Young’s wife was badly burned, and is still recovering, but she survived, thanks to Chris.
“There’s no words to show the appreciation, the gratitude, for what he did,” Young added. “He was Godsent that night.”
He voice filled with emotion as he added, “There will always be a special place in our hearts for him.”