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Police ID suspect involved in shooting east of Tyler; one dead

Published: Oct. 7, 2014 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM CDT
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Deputies responded to the scene just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday. (Source: KLTV Staff)
Deputies responded to the scene just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday. (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
Medical helicopter arrived near the scene of the shooting. (Source: KLTV Staff)
Medical helicopter arrived near the scene of the shooting. (Source: KLTV Staff)
A medical helicopter arrived near the scene of the shooting. (Source: KLTV staff)
A medical helicopter arrived near the scene of the shooting. (Source: KLTV staff)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Police have identified the person involved in a Tuesday shooting east of Tyler that left one person dead.

The shooting suspect has been identified as Kenneth Stearns, 55, of Tyler. He is currently being transported to the Smith County Jail for processing. Bond has not been set.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith originally said that 65-year-old Walter Elder, also of Tyler, died at 2:17 p.m. from his injuries.

Deputies responded about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday to a report of gunfire in the 15900 block of Shady Creek Road east of Tyler. Patrol deputies, detectives, and K9 officers as well as troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived and found one victim who had been shot and was trapped in a wrecked vehicle.

"It appeared that [Elder] was most likely shot in two different locations, one being after the impact occurred," Smith said.

Members of the Jackson Volunteer Fire Department cut the victim out of his vehicle, which had wrecked into a tree. EMS arrived and transported the victim, Walter Elder, 65, of Tyler, to a local hospital.

According to witnesses, the suspect fled the scene in a maroon truck. Sheriff's deputies, detectives, and K9 officers found the maroon truck abandoned at a residence of a possible suspect. About 1:25 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody without incident at his residence in the 15500 block of Shady Creek Road.

The Smith County Sheriff's Office said Stearns called 911 to alert them he had shot someone.

"We had EMS en route and deputies en route, a short time later they received a 911 call from the apparent suspect saying he had shot someone around here," Smith said.

A landing zone for a medical helicopter was setup at a nearby elementary school. Shady Creek Road is about two miles north of Highway 31 east of County Road 2908.

Smith County crime scene specialists are en route to the location to process the scene. The investigation is ongoing and more information will be released as it becomes available. We have a team on the scene and will provide updates as they become available.

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