LONGVIEW — One person is in custody following an armed robbery at a Longview store Saturday morning. According to KETK, police say just after 11:00 an armed man entered the Walmart store on East Loop 281 between North 4th Street and U.S. 259. Witnesses say the man pulled out a gun and began demanding money from a clerk at the Money Center inside the store. The man was given cash before he ran away. Officers say they found him a short time later in the area of Harmon Drive and Eubanks Street. His name was not immediately released. Police say the money stolen and the gun used have been recovered.
LONGVIEW — A 4-year-old girl was taken to Longview’s Good Shepherd Medical Center in critical condition Friday after she was struck by a vehicle. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, DPS officials said the girl was hit about 7:45 p.m. Friday on Tryon Road in Gregg County, about 3 miles north of Loop 281. They said she had gotten out of a house in the area and entered the road when a driver traveling south on Tryon Road saw her and hit his brakes, but was unable to stop. The girl’s name was not released by troopers or the Gregg County sheriff’s office.
DALLAS (AP) – A novel claim that a fleet of commercial boats on the Texas coast has exclusive rights to thousands of acres of seabed and the lucrative oysters found there has spawned a flurry of high-stakes lawsuits. State officials say the move undermines their efforts to protect wildlife across Texas. Tracy Woody last year reached a 30-year agreement with the Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District for access to 23,000 acres of Gulf seabed owned by the district. Woody says he wants to cultivate and harvest oysters, while making the beds more sustainable. Competitors say his efforts are an unlawful attempt to seize control of water and monopolize a prized commodity. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say only the state has the right to regulate the conservation and harvesting of wildlife.
EL PASO (AP) – A 23-year-old El Paso man is free on bond after he was arrested during a melee at a department store over television sets. The incident happened about 6 p.m. Thursday when the crew at a Wal-Mart store in northeastern El Paso displayed 50-inch television sets for $150. A police statement said a crowd converged to grab for the sets when an off-duty police officer working security saw an elderly woman disappear beneath a pile of customers as she held a set. Garcia grabbed for the set, apparently stepping on her. Police said when the officer tried to pull Garcia off, Garcia hit the officer several times and choked him until another off-duty officer intervened. Garcia was charged with assaulting a public servant. Court records listed no attorney for him.
IRVING (AP) – About 100 demonstrators rallied in front of a suburban Dallas mosque in a show of support for the mosque a week after armed protesters appeared there. The demonstration Saturday in front of the Islamic Center of Irving came days after the posting on Facebook of names and addresses of dozens of people who registered to speak against a proposed ordinance banning foreign law. Those listed were called Muslims and “Muslim sympathizers” by organizers of an armed protest outside the mosque last weekend. Critics said the ordinance targeted Muslims unfairly. David Wright, lead organizer of last week’s demonstration, told The Associated Press that he and his supporters decided not to attend Saturday’s rally despite what he called its “message that allows Islam to grow and spread its influence.”
DALLAS (AP) – Forecasters said Saturday afternoon that a band of storms moving slowly through the nation’s midsection was leaving Texas but would likely dump more freezing rain on parts of Oklahoma and Kansas. At least five people have died in accidents related to the ice storm, and another three have died in North Texas flash floods. One person was still missing at last report. Thousands of people are without power as accumulated ice has downed power lines. Rain is forecast Sunday from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic states.
ARLINGTON (AP) – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will miss the rest of the season with a small fracture in the same collarbone that previously sidelined him for seven games this year. Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on Friday that Romo will not need surgery. It’s the third fracture in Romo’s non-throwing shoulder in his nine-year career as the Dallas starter.
DALLAS (AP) – A law enforcement official says two children have been killed in a crash on a slick highway in South Dallas after the family’s car was struck by an SUV traveling about 100 mph. Melinda Urbina, spokeswoman for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, says a family of five were in the vehicle during the crash Friday afternoon on U.S. 175. A boy around 12 or 13 years old was pronounced dead at the scene, and a baby less than 13 months old died at a hospital. The SUV driver, 23-year-old Kelvin Leon Walker of Dallas, was treated in the hospital and was being held on one vehicular manslaughter count. Urbina said other charges against him were pending. The mother, father, and two other children traveling in the car were not injured. Urbina says it’s not yet clear what role the wet conditions might have had on the accident.
KATY (AP) – A 41-year-old suburban Houston man has been jailed on an aggravated assault charge after he was accused of dousing his girlfriend with rubbing alcohol and setting her on fire. Jose Luis Hernandez Jr. is jailed on $100,000 bond after the Thanksgiving Day incident at a Katy home. His 52-year-old girlfriend was in serious condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where she was being treated for first-, second- and third-degree burns. Neighbor Carry Bulthuis said she saw the woman trying to rip her shirt from her flaming back while fleeing the house. The neighbor said the woman said her boyfriend had poured alcohol on her and set fire to her. Hernandez fled on foot but was arrested Thursday night. It is unclear from jail records if Hernandez has an attorney.
FORT HOOD (AP) – The Army has released the identities of four crew members who were killed when their helicopter crashed during a routine training exercise at Fort Hood in Texas. The Black Hawk went down about 6 p.m. Monday in the northeast portion of the sprawling military post about 60 miles north of Austin. Killed were 40-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Toby A. Childers, of Hays, Kansas; 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen B. Cooley, of Cantonment, Florida; 35-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Jason M. Smith, of Destrehan, Louisiana; and 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael F. Tharp, of Katy, Texas. The cause of the crash remains undetermined. Fort Hood covers 214,000 acres, making it one of the largest Army posts in the country. More than 135,000 acres are reserved for training purposes.
EAST TEXAS — Multiple East Texas gas stations are found in violation of compliance guidelines. KETK reports station pumps in Tyler, Longview, Gladewater, and Jacksonville are out of order due to compliance issues. Those issues range from nozzles not being able to hold “zero” to some not registering properly.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Paris attacks have renewed debate on the government’s post-Sept. 11 domestic surveillance laws. There are efforts to revive the issue on Capitol Hill. That’s handing Marco Rubio an opening against Texan Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential race. The two senators were on opposite sides earlier this year when Congress eliminated the National Security Agency’s bulk phone-records collection program and replaced it with a more restrictive measure. But polls are showing that the public is growing more concerned with security after the Paris attacks – and Rubio is backing long-shot legislation aimed at keeping the intended surveillance changes from taking effect at the end of the month, as scheduled. And he’s aggravating Cruz, who’s responding just as adamantly.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – Federal officials want landowners in Indiana and nine other states, including Texas, to grow milkweed to boost the population of monarch butterflies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is due to spend $4 million in 2016 to help farmers and others plant milkweed and other nectar-producing plants. Shannon Zezula, Indiana resource conservationist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, tells The (Bloomington) Herald-Times the agency wants to re-establish habitats for monarchs and pollinators in general. Milkweed is essential for monarchs since it is the only plant on which the butterfly will lay its eggs. It takes three to four generations for the monarchs to migrate to roosting spots in mountains of central Mexico.
TYLER — With the changing season, trees have begun shedding their leaves — and that means raking and filling numerous bags of yard waste. Tyler officials say the Solid Waste Department may not pick up all bags during customers’ regularly scheduled pick-up days. They say that’s to alleviate the safety concerns of having residential crews working late into the evening due to the increase in garbage collection, If a residence has excessive bags of leaves, an alternate truck may be used to complete the route on a different day.
For residents who would like to try an alternative to bagging leaves, compost bins are available through the Solid Waste Department and may be purchased for $60. Proceeds from sales help to fund Keep Tyler Beautiful projects. You can go to www.TylerSolidWaste.com to learn more about the Solid Waste Department, including how to get in touch.
TYLER — It’s an especially good time to think twice before running red lights in Tyler. The Tyler Police Department will be participating in a state grant-funded Red Light Enforcement program that runs through December. Police encourage drivers to slow down when approaching an intersection with a yellow light and not enter an intersection on a red light.
GREGG COUNTY — A Longview man who police said stole two vehicles and injured an elderly woman while stealing a third vehicle pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Wesley Smyth, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of aggravated assault in the June 2014 incident. According to KETK, Smyth crashed a vehicle he stole from Quality Auto Sales on U.S. 80 into a power pole before abandoning it. Smyth then went back to the same used car dealership and stole a second vehicle, this time driving to an area near H.G. Mosley Parkway and Cotton Street, where he damaged that vehicle. He then left that vehicle and began trying to steal a third vehicle by dragging an elderly woman out of her car. The victim sustained non life-threatening injuries. Smyth’s sentence was enhanced by two previous felony convictions.
PAMPA (AP) – Two people have died in a two-vehicle crash in West Texas. Courtney Dewayne Scales of Dallas was driving a 2005 Volvo Truck Tractor towing a 2008 Kentucky semi-trailer on Thursday when she lost control in the rainy weather. The truck and trailer slid sideways across both north and southbound lanes, and onto the path of a 2013 Hyundai passenger car. The Kentucky trailer struck the Hyundai, killing the driver, 51-year-old Jerry Wayne Gordon, and the passenger, 50-year-old Colette Pavelka Gordon, both of Clarendon, Texas. The Gray County Justice of the Peace pronounced both dead at the scene. Scales was transported to a local hospital with possible injuries. The Texas Department of Public Safety says 35-year-old Scales was traveling at a speed that was unsafe for the conditions of the roadway
MARSHALL — A Hallsville man who attempted to take a weapon from a police officer will spend 10 months in jail. According to the Longview News-Journal, Garland Ray Wiley Jr., 32, pleaded guilty to the felony. According to his indictment, Wiley took Hallsville officer Nelson Valle’s firearm on Jan. 16. Documents show officers Jeff Jones and Valle were dispatched that morning to the 400 block of McPherson Street in reference to a disorderly person. When officers stopped Wiley’s vehicle, Wiley appeared disoriented and acted in an aggressive manner. Officers said after Wiley threatened to harm them, they used a stun gun to take Wiley to the ground.
CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) – Federal officials are investigating the death of a Texas construction worker in southwest Missouri. The Joplin Globe reports that 29-year-old Luis R. Estrada of El Paso died Saturday in southern Carthage, Mo., at the construction site for a new senior residential care center. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a news release that initial reports indicate the worker tumbled out of a three-sided box that was sitting on the forks of a tractor. After Estrada fell about 11 feet, the box hit him on the head. Jasper County coroner Rob Chapel says Estrada was declared dead at a Joplin hospital. The cause of the death was blunt force trauma to the head. OSHA is investigating the construction company that employed Estrada and the general contractor.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Authorities say a man with a stolen boarding pass got through airport security in Salt Lake City and checked into a flight at the gate before he was caught earlier this month. The Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported Thursday (that 61-year-old Michael Salata was arrested shortly after checking into a Southwest Airlines flight to Oakland, California, on Nov. 5. Salt Lake Airport Police Chief Craig Vargo says Salata grabbed the boarding pass accidently left on a kiosk and used it to get through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Police say Salata wasn’t caught until the woman who had left the pass also checked in using a replacement ticket uploaded on her phone. TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers says that aside from the identification mistake, Salata was properly screened. Dallas-based Southwest says its employees followed protocol.
LUBBOCK (AP) – Nurse Angie Boivin had just tended to a woman whose leg was severed when she saw her husband Larry lying nearby. She says that she was with him when he took his last breath. Larry Boivin earned a Purple Heart in Iraq, but he didn’t survive a Union Pacific freight train that slammed into the trailer he and other veterans were riding during a 2012 parade in Midland. Four veterans died and more than a dozen people were injured. Angie Boivin and 42 others sued Union Pacific for negligence, saying it knew 10 months before the collision of a defect in track circuitry and didn’t fix it. They also allege the railroad reduced the warning time in violation of a state agreement. Union Pacific says it is not at fault.
AUSTIN (AP) – The Austin school board has voted to change a policy that would allow schools named after Confederate figures to proceed with name changes. The Austin American-Statesman reports that the school board voted on Monday to change the policy. The shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina last summer, when nine African-Americans were killed, sparked a national debate about Confederate symbols. Community members of Robert E. Lee Elementary School in the Austin neighborhood of Hyde Park have appealed to district officials to change the school’s name. A statue of Jefferson Davis was removed from its pedestal in August on the August campus of the University of Texas days after a court rejected an appeal from a Confederate heritage group.
AUSTIN (AP) – Texans renewed their Thanksgiving Day traditions and served feasts to those who might otherwise have gone hungry. Some did it in a crowd, such as when 4,000 volunteers served meals to about 25,000 people at the annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner in San Antonio. Men and women in uniform far from their families, such as those at Fort Hood in Central Texas, had their turkey with all the trimmings. Tens of thousands of spectators converged on downtown Houston for the city’s 66th annual Thanksgiving Day parade. But some acted on a much smaller scale. Bobby Depper, formerly among Houston’s legion of homeless, roams the streets of his city offering meals to those who appear to him to need help.
NACOGDOCHES — A Mount Enterprise man is behind bars after an ongoing crime spree in several different counties. According to KETK, Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges says Bobby Stein, 58, was identified as a suspect in the case on Tuesday morning. Bridges says that happened after officers from Shelby County and Nacogdoches County were able to use information from two different videos. Investigators say they found Stein late Tuesday hiding in a remote part of Rusk County. Nacogdoches County deputies were able to locate stolen property at a Rusk County deer camp. Investigators were also able to determine more stolen property had been taken to Angelina County. Those items, which had been sold, were recovered on Wednesday. Stein was arrested and charged with seven counts of theft. He was booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail.
More than $30,000 of stolen property was recovered. Bridges said the property also included items from Dallas County. The Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office has recovered the following property:
Six flatbed bumper pull trailers
One cargo Trailer
One Horse trailer
Five all-terrain vehicles (ATV)
One tractor with implements
Deputies are still investigating the theft of two flatbed trailers and a zero turn mower stolen in Nacogdoches County. It is believed the suspect took these items and sold them in the Lufkin Area within the last two weeks. Stein is believed to have committed numerous thefts of four wheelers and trailers over the course of the last month in several different counties. Bridges said any recently purchased items from Stein have a high probability of being stolen propety. If you purchased property from Stein, you’re urged to contact your local law enforcement agency. The case is still under investigation and more charges are expected to be filed.
LONGVIEW — A Longview woman who sustained injuries during a house fire in October has died. That word came Wednesday from her family, according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. The Longview Fire Department sats a home near Idylwood Drive and 12th Street caught fire October 19. Officials at the scene said Phylis Bridges suffered burns and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. An 18-year-old man reportedly helped save the woman and called for help. Another man and a 3-year-old were also inside the house at the time of the fire. Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Shaw says Bridges was placed in the intensive care unit. The other adult and child were treated for smoke inhalation. Shaw said a firefighter suffered minor burns and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Bridges’s death is the only known fire-related death Longview has had this year, said Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary. Though the cause of the fire remains undetermined, Zackary said all residents should double-check their fire alarms to ensure they are properly installed and have fresh batteries. “A few seconds more could have been the difference in her surviving that fire,” he said. “She did get out, but by then she had already sustained severe burn injuries.”
HENDERSON — A Rusk County murder suspect on the run since Monday night has been caught in Shelby County. According to KETK, authorities said Demetrius Terrell Bennett was captured Wednesday by Shelby County constables and has been taken to the Shelby County Jail. Bennett, 19, is accused of killing Eugene Bryant, 53. Bennett will be charged with murder. At 10:17 p.m. on Monday, deputies responded to reports of shots fired and a person wounded on County Road 3281. When officials arrived at the scene, Bryant was found dead from apparent gunshot wounds. Witnesses reported seeing the gunman leave the scene in a car headed south. The vehicle was found abandoned near Rusk County Road 3285.
ARLINGTON (AP) – North Texas police say DNA testing on a discarded marijuana cigarette led to the arrest of a man investigators say killed a married couple in their home in 2012. Arlington police said in a statement Wednesday that test results identified a suspect last month. The man was arrested at the time on a parole violation and a subsequent saliva test confirmed the DNA results. The suspect was charged Tuesday with capital murder and he’s being held at the Tarrant County jail. Police aren’t releasing his name because he was a 16-year-old juvenile at the time of the killings. The bodies of Long Nguyen and wife Huong Ly were found in their apartment after a family member called asking police to conduct a welfare check. Police say they died of asphyxiation.
AUSTIN (AP) – Texas will receive federal aid for the ongoing recovery from October storms that left six people dead. The White House on Wednesday announced a major disaster declaration for 15 Texas counties that include Houston and Austin. The declaration authorizes federal aid that includes temporary housing grants and loans to cover the loss of uninsured property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin taking online or telephone applications for assistance Thursday. Storms and heavy rain flooded streets throughout Central and Southeast Texas. Houston police found two dead, one in a rain-swollen ditch and another in a wooded area where there had been water. The counties under the disaster declaration are Bastrop, Brazoria, Caldwell, Comal, Galveston, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy, and Wilson.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics show nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in October, almost double the number from October 2014. Immigration experts say the numbers, released Tuesday, show that the flow of immigrants from Central America has remained high at a time of year when it usually drops. Some 6,000 family members traveling together also were apprehended last month – nearly triple from October 2014. The most families and children apprehended at the border were from El Salvador.
Immigrants are also starting to venture farther west along the Texas border. Unaccompanied children caught in the Del Rio sector jumped from 120 to 237, while 187 children were apprehended in the remote Big Bend area, up from just 13 a year ago.