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Bowie County officer shot, killed at courthouse

By Robin Aaron
April 18, 2011 at 10 p.m.


12:40 PM

NEW BOSTON - Bond was set at $3 million Tuesday morning for a Bowie County detainee who officials said shot and killed an officer Monday afternoon.

Authorities found Tucker Strickland in Ashdown, Ark., after the shooting. He was extradited from Miller County Jail back to Texas Tuesday morning.

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A Bowie County officer was shot and killed Monday afternoon by a detainee being transferred through the basement of the courthouse.

Sherry Jones, 54, was a six-year employee of the Bowie County Correctional Center, where she worked as a part-time transport officer. According to Bowie County Sheriff James Prince, Tucker Strickland overpowered the officer as she was transporting him back to the transport van, taking her gun and shooting her at least once just after 1:15 p.m.

Strickland then fled the scene in the Bowie County transport van. He was captured about 30 minutes later by authorities in Ashdown, AR.

Strickland, of Wake Village, had multiple misdemeanors on his record and had been previously charged with felony aggravated assault against his mother.

Sources say a mental health exam ordered on Feb. 18 found Strickland to be incompetent.

The hearing Monday was to declare Strickland incompetent to stand trial. Strickland, 21, is also said to have been a trained cage fighter and boxer.

Bowie County Sheriff Deputy Lonnie Johnson said he received a welfare check call some time after 1:30 p.m. At that time the courthouse was put on lockdown and everyone was asked to leave the building immediately.

Jones was discovered at approximately 10 minutes later in the basement hallway. She had been shot.

According to Sheriff Prince, Jones still had signs of life, but was later pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff Prince could not say if she was wearing her bullet proof vest at the time of the shooting, though Chief Deputy Larry Parker confirmed that the employee policy manual does require that it be worn while officers were on duty.

Stickland was capture in Ashdown, Ark. At about 3:30 p.m, according to Prince who said he remained in custody and a warrant had been issued for his arrest on additional charges of first degree capital murder.

Texas Rangers Jay Wommack has been called in to conduct the investigation. Once that investigation is complete, Sheriff Prince said that his office would determine whether any policy changes should be made.

"I'll tell you one thing," Prince said during a press conference Monday afternoon, "She was a good officer and would never have hurt anyone."

Lois Cowley, who has worked at the courthouse for the past 27 years said she remembers Jones as a sweet lady and mother.

She also said this is the first time the courthouse has been evacuated in all her years of employment.

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