by Emily Waldrep
A Woodville man, Dennis Rae Murray Jr, age 40, was shot and killed by officers on the night of September 25 after he fired a shot at an Woodville Police Department officer during an altercation on 500 Lyndale Street in Woodville.
According to a press release, Sheriff David Hennigan said that a Tyler County Sheriff's Office Deputy was dispatched to a caller who wanted to report information of a sexual assault. While the TCSO deputy was at the residence interviewing the victim who made the sexual assault complaint, Murray drove into the driveway.
"The victim making the complaint identified Murray and informed the deputy that Murray was armed with two rifles and had threatened to kill the victim," Sheriff David Hennigan said. "The deputy ordered Murray to show his hands, and Murray then sped out of the driveway resulting in a high speed pursuit into Woodville."
At that time additional TCSO deputies, Woodville Police Officers and Texas DPS became involved in the pursuit.
"TCSO deputies used 'road spikes' in an effort to disable Murray's vehicle, resulting in the flattening of Murray's left front tire, but Murray continued driving at a high rate of speed until he finally stopped at his residence on 500 Lyndale in Woodville," Hennigan said, "At that time, the deputies ordered him to remove himself from the vehicle, and instead of doing that, Murray pulled out a long rifle and pointed it at the officers. Their response was to protect themselves and the fellow officers there, so they opened fire. Approximately 12 shots were fired from two separate officers. Another officer approached and it appeared that the suspect was unconscious. One of the officers opened the door and reached down to grab the weapon, and that is when the subject pulled the trigger. The bullet luckily missed the officer. The officer maintained possession of the weapon and actually took it from Murray. When Murray saw that he had lost his weapon, he reached and grabbed another one that was in the vehicle. The officer tried to grab the second weapon from Murray and during the struggle another one of the deputies' came to his aide and saw he was struggling over control of that weapon. Knowing that Murray had already fired a shot at the officers, the deputy fired two shots disabling the suspect."
After the shots were fired, officers on the scene as well as Dogwood EMS attended to Murray with no response. He was transported to Tyler County Hospital and pronounced dead at 11:30p.m.
"An officer will revert to their training when they are involved in situations like this," Hennigan said. "It is something that is taught to officers from the time they go into the first academy and it is pounded into their head to rely on their training, and that is what appears these officers had done."
"This appears very similar to the same case that happened three years ago, which was basically suicide by cop," Hennigan said. "Anytime you point a gun at an officer you should expect to get shot or get shot at. If there is a question about it, that is when the officer goes home in a body bag and that is completely unacceptable."
"The officer is here to protect you and the citizens here in this county, as well as his fellow officer," Hennigan said, "He took an oath to do so. It is not the part of the business we want to do, but unfortunately it happens. It is a said situation all around, but as far as I am concerned, the officers had no choice."