TYLER COUNTY - by Scott Lawrence/Ashley Gaston - The Texas Rangers are investigating a fatal shooting in which Tyler County deputies shot and killed a man accused of pointing a rifle at them and firing at a Woodville Police officer who became involved in a struggle with the suspect to seize his weapon, according to information the Tyler County Sheriff's Office has provided to KFDM News.
40 year old Dennis Murray Junior died. The confrontation with Murray followed a 12 mile chase and a dozen shots fired by Tyler County deputies who say he threatened them, more than once, when they finally caught up with him.
KFDM Anchor Ashley Gaston traveled to Tyler County to learn more about what happened and to talk with the Sheriff and a relative of Murray.
Evidence of the struggle, the shots fired, is still visible at the home in Woodville.
"He had told them to leave, so they came to my house, and that's when we notified the Sheriff's Department as to what was going on," said Michael Mann.
Mann says his sister called 911 to report she'd been threatened by 40-year-old Dennis Murray Junior.
"I've never seen this side of him," said Mann.
Mann says his sister lived with Murray and her children for seven years.
The Tyler County Sheriff says when a deputy drove to Warren to get more information, Murray drove up to the home.
The deputy told Murray to put his hands up but he sped away.
Murray led deputies on a 12 mile chase that ended at Murray's home in Woodville. Deputies asked the driver to get out of the car but say he displayed a rifle.
According to Sheriff David Hennigan, deputies fired 12 shots at Murray.
"It appeared the suspect was unconscious," said Sheriff Hennigan. "They called at him, they opened the door and grabbed the weapon, and as he grabbed the weapon, that's when the subject pulled the trigger."
The bullet missed a Woodville police officer who was trying to take away the rifle. The officer managed to seize the weapon, but investigators say Murray grabbed a second rifle and the two struggled.
A third deputy saw the struggle and fired two shots at Murray.
"Any time you point a weapon at an officer, you should expect to get shot or shot at," said Hennigan.
First responders tried to revive Murray but he died at a hospital.
"He made a choice. It was a poor choice. I wish they would have been able to get him stopped before it escalated to this," said Mann.
Now, Mann and his wife are left to load up clothes, books and family pets belonging to his sister and her children..
"I'm just trying to give her some security, let them know they're safe and move forward from today," said Mann.
Trying to put behind them what happened Tuesday night, while Texas Rangers seek answers for the family and for law enforcement officers who found themselves in the line of fire.
Stay with KFDM News and kfdm.com for the latest on the investigation.
(Earlier report) Tyler County - According to Tyler County Sheriff David Hennigan, at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday a deputy responded to a caller who wanted to report information about a sexual assault. The deputy arrived at a residence on Highway 69 north of Warren. He was interviewing the person who called to report the assault when Dennis Ray Murray Jr., 40, pulled into the driveway. The complainant identified Murray as the suspect in the assault and informed the deputy that Murray was armed with two rifles and had threatened to kill the complainant.
Sheriff Hennigan says according to the information from the scene, the deputy ordered Murray to show his hands but Murray sped out of the driveway. Deputies, Woodville Police and the Texas Department of Public Safety became involved in the pursuit. Deputies used road spikes to stop Murray and the spikes flattened his front left tire. Murray continued driving at a high rate of speed and finally stopped at his residence north of Warren.
Tyler County deputies ordered Murray to get out of his vehicle, but according to officers at the scene, Murray instead pointed a long-barreled weapon at them, prompting two deputies to open fire on him.
A Woodville police officer believed Murray was unconscious and approached the suspect to disarm him. Sheriff Hennigan says when the Woodville officer tried to grab Murray's weapon, Murray fired a shot at the police officer and missed him. The officer seized Murray's rifle from his hands. Murray grabbed a second rifle and the Woodville officer struggled with the suspect to seize the weapon.
According to officers at the scene, a third Tyler County deputy saw the pair struggling for control of the rifle and fired two shots at Murray, disabling him.
Officers determined Murray had no pulse. First responders from Dogwood EMS also treated Murray and couldn't find a pulse. They transported him to the Tyler County Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
As per standard procedure in any deputy-involved shooting in Tyler County, the deputies who fired their weapons were placed on administrative leave with pay.
Due to the death of the suspect, Sheriff Hennigan has called in the Texas Rangers to handle the investigation.
According to a check of Public Data, Murray's criminal background includes an 8 year sentence in 1994 for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Angelina County, a 180 day sentence in 2007 for drug charges in Angelina County, and a 30 day sentence in 2007 for Driving While Intoxicated in Angelina County.