TYLER — Tyler police continue their investigation into the shooting death of Michael Caldwell, (pictured) of Tyler. He was shot outside the Walgreens at Highway 64 West and Loop 323. The suspect, Fredy Neal, 65, told officers he shot in self-defense. Officials say Neal has cooperated with police and has been released pending further investigation.
The shooting occurred Saturday morning around 9:15. Investigators were told that Caldwell and his girlfriend were asked to leave IHOP at 64 West and Loop 323 due to their reportedly causing a disturbance in the restaurant. Tyler police were then called by a driver who said that a man and woman were out in traffic and looked as if they were going to get hit because the man was chasing cars on foot at 64W and Loop 323. Tyler police headed to the area to investigate.
Police say Caldwell, and his girlfriend entered the Walgreens and witnesses say the two were being disruptive inside the drug store. According to officials, Caldwell approached Neal in the Walgreens parking lot. Police say Caldwell got into a verbal altercation with Neal as Neal was attempting to use the Red Box.
According to a police report, Caldwell became more agitated with Neal as Neal was attempting to keep Caldwell away from him. Neal stated that he was in fear for his life so he pulled out a handgun and after several attempts to keep Caldwell from assaulting him, he shot him once in the chest, according to officials. Investigators have confirmed that Neal has a license to carry a concealed handgun. Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Smith County District Attorney’s Office for presentation to a grand jury.
TYLER — Representative Louie Gohmert, of Tyler, announced Sunday that he will challenge House Speaker John Boehner for his position next week when congress returns to Washington. Gohmert spoke with Fox & Friends about the need for someone to step up and run against Speaker Boehner in this new Congress. He echoed what many House Members are saying that there needs to be new leadership. … Read More
TYLER (AP) — Veteran Texas journalist Allison Pollan has been named the new editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph. The newspaper announced the appointment Sunday. The 39-year-old Pollan had spent the previous 10 years at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, including the last four as managing editor. Pollan replaces Dave Berry, who retired last week after 46 years in newspapers. Pollan has also worked for the Kerrville Daily Times and the Brazosport Facts. She arrives in Tyler a month after the newspaper also named a new managing editor, Carlina Villalpando, who also previously worked in Kerrville. Tyler Morning Telegraph publisher Nelson Clyde said Pollan and Villalpando represent “a new era in our newsroom leadership.” He said in a story announcing the changes that both bring strong track records of news judgment and innovation.
TYLER — A Tyler man has been arrested after reportedly wrecking a stolen truck into an RV. It happened just before 8:00 Saturday night at the 64 West RV Park, 13000 Hwy 64. Brad Lewis, 29, was eventually taken into custody after officers tased him for refusal to surrender. Authorities said one person inside the RV was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. The RV was said to be a total loss. Lewis was booked into the Smith County Jail, charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, resisting search/arrest and driving while intoxicated. His bonds total $100,000. set.
RUSK COUNTY — A Rusk County man is behind bars after sheriff’s deputies say he opened fire on them. The shooting happened Thursday night around 9:45. According to KETK, Robert Scott Hurst, 28, reportedly opened fire on an officer who was making a welfare check at his residence on County Road 472. Back-up was called in and officials were able to eventually talk Hurst out of the house. He was arrested without further incident. No injuries were reported. A motive is still not clear. One patrol car was hit by two bullets. Hurst was charged with a first degree felony, punishable by up to 99 years. His bond was set at $2,000,000.
LONGVIEW – A Longview woman has been accused of cutting her husband with a knife and hitting with a broom handle and a can of hair product. Charged with aggravated assault is Danielle Sarae Branson, 20. During the incident, she is also said to have punched her mother-in-law in the face and pulled her hair. The Longview News-Journal reports she is currently free on a $6,000 bond.
TYLER — London and Josh Smith of Tyler are the proud parents of the first baby born at East Texas Medical Center Tyler for the 2015 New Year. Austin Wyatt was born at 2:21 a.m. on January 2. Austin was 7 pounds and 3 ounces and 18 and three-fourth inches long. He is the couple’s fourth child. London was in labor less than an hour before delivering! She is also a labor and delivery registered nurse at ETMC Tyler’s Family Birthplace so her own team members got to deliver her baby. London’s due date was January 16. ETMC Tyler also has seven other mothers in labor on Friday.
HENDERSON – Rusk County officials and the community are mourning the death of a beloved commissioner who died Friday. Pct. 2 Commissioner Mike Pepper died Friday in a Tyler-area hospital after struggling with a blood disorder in the past year, County Judge Joel Hale said. “He was a great guy. He was a great friend. He was somebody we all depended on. He would help anybody with anything,” Hale said. “Words can’t express how much we are going to miss him.”… Read More
CARTHAGE – A pretrial date and a trail date have been set for convicted killer Bernie Tiede. During a status hearing in Carthage on Friday, visiting judge Diane DeVasto of Tyler set Tiede’s pretrial for March 3rd. The trial date for a new punishment hearing will be June 1st. Also during the hearing, judge DeVasto ruled that Tiede’s previous conditional bond will be applied during the new hearing. Judge DeVasto heard the habeas corpus motion last May which freed Tiede from prison. He was released 17 years into a life sentence for the murder of a wealthy Carthage widow.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Judges, Justices of the Peace, and other elected Gregg County officials take the oath Thursday to uphold the law and serve the community. According to KETK, Judge Alfonso Charles commended Judge Bill Stoudt, commissioners, and the public, for Gregg County’s unique accomplishment of having no public debt. In addition, Tim Bryan was sworn in as the new Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace, replacing Arthur Fort who is now retired.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Longview Fire Department crews respond Thursday night to a fire at Hunter’s Crossing Apartments in the 2800 block of Bill Owens Parkway. Investigators said unattended candles sparked the blaze, which broke out in a bedroom. The occupants of the apartment were displaced, but no injuries were reported.
MARSHALL — A child has been injured Thursday afternoon in a drive-by shooting in Marshall. Marshall police said the shooting happened about 4:00 in the 800 block of West Emory Street. Officials said they weren’t sure if he was hit by a round or if it was a ricochet. They said several shots were fired. The child was taken Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall. The injuries were said to be non-life threatening. No arrests have been made.
TROUP — A young man was hit and killed by a Union Pacific train in Troup on New Year’s Day. It happened around 4:00am at the Front Street railroad crossing. A preliminary investigation shows the man, identified as Corey Lane Walker, 25, Troup, was about 100 feet away from the crossing when he tried to beat the train on foot. Officials said Walker didn’t make it across and was fatally hit by the train. According to KETK, Union Pacific is conducting an investigation.
KILGORE — The recent shooting death of a Kilgore man has been listed as a homicide and further details surrounding the shooting were released Wednesday in a report. According to the Longview News-Journal, Franciosa Lakeefe Jackson died from two gunshots to the head with perforation of the skull and brain, according to a preliminary autopsy report released by Gregg County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Mathis’ office. Toxicology results are pending.… Read More
KILGORE – Authorities in northeast Texas are looking for a Kilgore teen who went missing over the weekend. According to a Facebook posting, Samantha Strader, 16, a junior at Kilgore High School, was last seen at her stepmother’s house in northwest Upshur County late Saturday night or Sunday morning. She is 5 foot 7 and weighs around 120 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a red and white Kilgore letter jacket with “Strader” in large white letters, jeans, boots and yellow Pikachu toboggan. If you have any information about the teen, you are asked to contact the Upshur County Sheriff’s office of the nearest law enforcement agency.
TYLER — Tyler Police Department are participating in the ‘No-Refusal’ DWI Campaign once again this year. Upon the arrest of a suspected drunk driver, he or she will be asked if they would submit to a breath or a blood test. If the driver refuses and says “No” officers will obtain an immediate search warrant signed by a judge on call to have blood drawn by a nurse on staff at the Smith County Jail. The No-Refusal campaign started Wednesday, December 31, at 3:00pm and run through tomorrow.
TYLER – A necropsy, an animal autopsy, has been performed by Caldwell Zoo veterinary and animal care staff on an elephant that died this week. Preliminary results show that Binti, a female African elephant, died from heart disease. The female elephant died Tuesday following a short illness. Binti was born in in South Africa in 1978 and arrived at the Tyler zoo by way of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago in 2000. She was the zoo’s only tuskless elephant, which is a not-so-common trait. It is believed around 38% are born without tusks, much higher than the estimated 1% in the 1930s. According to National Geographic, the average female African elephant’s lifespan born in the wild is 56 years and 17 years in captivity.
MARSHALL – A drug bust in Marshall has led to four arrests. The Marshall Police Department SWAT team and Marshall Criminal Apprehension Team (MCAT) and Criminal Investigations Bureau executed the raid shortly after 6:00 Wednesday morning at 2001 West Houston Street. Along with the suspects, the officers also recovered stolen property, firearms and narcotics. The suspects are identified as Keith Laddell Wobbington of Hallsville,(pictured) Artis Ledale Williams, Anthony James Cook and LaQuance Ashun Jackson.
GILMER – Three persons have been arrested in connection with the May dumping of a group of dead fighting dogs in an Upshur County creek. The eight bloated dog carcasses were found in a creek off Farm Road 2685, between Gilmer and Gladewater. Most of the animals were said to have been pit bulls. According to the Longview News-Journal, Amber Jean Long, 32, Caleb Vigneau, 36, and John Newman, 20, all of Gladewater, have all been charged with unauthorized discharge of waste into a waterway under Texas’ Water Code. The charge is a Class-A misdemeanor.
TYLER – The Better Business Bureau cautions consumers of reports of phone calls from con-artists pretending to be from the official Publisher’s Clearing House (PCH) or from the U.S. Post Office announcing winnings from PCH. These bogus phone calls inform customers that they have won a major prize. The “winners” are instructed to wire hundreds of dollars in order to claim their prize. Once the money is received, the caller states that the PCH team will arrive to deliver their “winnings”. The calls are originating from an 876 area code, which is in Jamaica. But, it’s all a scam.… Read More
SMITH COUNTY – One person has been killed and one injured in a two vehicle accident on a service road off of Interstate Highway 20. Killed was Jeffrey Todd Childress, 45, of Henderson. Injured was Regina Harris, 47, of Winona. The accident happened shortly after 6:45 Wednesday morning just east of U.S. Highway 271. The Department of Public Safety report says Harris did not heed a yield sign and hit Childress’ vehicle.
SHREVEPORT, LA. (AP) — Authorities say $60,000 in missing Shreveport property has been found in Texas. Sgt. Lonny Haschel, of the Texas Highway Patrol, tells The Times the equipment, which includes water meters, ended up as scrap metal in Marshall, Texas. Haschel says officers were performing routine checks of the scrap yards which keep records when the missing property was found. Police say Cartrie Washington Jr., a six-year employee of Shreveport’s Department of Water and Sewerage, is accused of stealing the equipment and taking it across state lines to sell it. The 34-year-old Washington was arrested December 12 on a felony theft charge. He remains in the Caddo Correctional Center. Washington’s case went to court Dec. 15 when he was appointed a public defender. His bond is set at $70,000.
KILGORE — Kilgore police are still investigating leads following a murder Sunday evening in a residential neighborhood. According to KETK, investigators said a man knocked on the door of Franciosa Lakeefe Jackson’s home and asked for him by name. Family members heard gunfire and found the 36-year-old victim dead in the front yard with a least one gunshot wound. The lead investigator, Trae Portwood, said they believe the victim knew the person who shot him. “There was some indication they conversed in the front yard. They didn’t have any conflict. They weren’t arguing in the front yard when the conversation started. They shook hands when he came out of the house. Until the gunfire was heard by the family inside the house there was no indication anything was wrong.”… Read More
LONGVIEW — Longview Transit, in partnership with R&K Distributors , the Local Budweiser Distributor, is preparing to provide a “Safe-Ride-Home” on New Year’s Eve. For the seventh consecutive year, Longview Transit will give free rides to anyone within Longview city limits on New Year’s Eve between 8:00pm and 3:00am. Rides can be scheduled by calling Longview Transit at 903-753-2287 ext.10. To prepare for the Safe-Ride-Home project, Longview Transit’s regular route service will end early at Noon on Wednesday, December 31. This curb to curb service will be available to and from any destination.… Read More
LONGVIEW – Following his indictment by a grand jury, a Gregg County man has been arrested on a charge of sexual assault of a child. The Longview News-Journal reports Denys Velasquez, 20, was booked into the Gregg County Jail. His bond was set at $35,000. According to the indictment, Velasquez is accused of having sexual contact with a child younger than 17.
TYLER — Tyler Police Department will participate in the ‘No-Refusal’ DWI Campaign once again this year. Upon the arrest of a suspected drunk driver, he or she will be asked if they would submit to a breath or a blood test. If the driver refuses and says “No” officers will obtain an immediate search warrant signed by a judge on call to have blood drawn by a nurse on staff at the Smith County Jail. The No-Refusal campaign will start Wednesday, December 31, at 3:00pm and run through Saturday, January 3rd.… Read More
TYLER – A female elephant at Tyler’s Caldwell Zoo has died. The zoo announced that Binti, a female African elephant, died Tuesday following a short illness. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. Binti was born in in South Africa in 1978 and arrived at the Tyler zoo by way of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago in 2000. She was the zoo’s only tuskless elephant, which is a not-so-common trait. It is believed around 38% are born without tusks, much higher than the estimated 1% in the 1930s. According to National Geographic, the average female African elephant’s lifespan born in the wild is 56 years and 17 years in captivity.
GREGG COUNTY — A Longview man has been charged with intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury. According to KETK, Christopher Eric Waltrip, 36, was being held Monday on $10,000 bond. Waltrip was arrested following a car wreck around 11:30 Sunday night on Highway 80. Waltrip was parked on the highway perpendicular to the flow of traffic when Nancy Wells’ vehicle hit his pickup. … Read More
TYLER — A house at 2816 Staley Drive in Tyler has been damaged by fire. It was reported around 1:15 Monday afternoon. The fire investigator determined the fire started in one of the children’s bedroom around a wall plug located behind the bed. Officials said the bed initially caught on fire before spreading to the rest of the room. The bedroom sustained heavy fire damage. Crews were able to contain the fire to the bedroom resulting in only heat and smoke damage to the remainder of the house. The house was occupied by two adults and five children. No injuries were reported. The family is staying with other family members.
TYLER – Another Tyler convenience store has been robbed. This time it was held up by two black men all in black clothing. The robbery occurred around 9:00 last night at 1707 East Front Street. The suspects displayed a handgun and stole an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene on foot. The suspects were last seen running south bound on Palmer Street. No injuries were reported.… Read More