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Grand jury clears officers in trio of fatal shootings in East Texas

By Robyn Claridy rclaridy@news-journal.com
Nov. 21, 2011 at 11 p.m.


Harrison and Gregg county grand juries have cleared law enforcement officers of any wrongdoing in a pair of shooting deaths earlier this year. The decisions appear to close the books on a trio of officer-involved shootings.

In the latest decisions, a Harrison County grand jury cleared one Harrison County and two Hallsville Police officers in the September shooting death of Richard Owen Dean, 44, of Longview.

On Oct. 26, a Gregg County grand jury cleared three Gladewater Police officers in connection with the shooting death of Willie B. Green, 56, who authorities said was wielding a knife.

On Oct. 13, two Kilgore police officers were cleared in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old Jamel Freeman, who police said stabbed the two officers before being fatally shot.

All three cases were investigated by Texas Rangers before being turned over to grand juries. Here's a look at each:

<strong>Hallsville shooting</strong>

On Sept. 20, officers responded to a report of a family disturbance and were met at the gate by Dean, who authorities said was wielding a pistol.

Deputies ordered him to drop his weapon several times before Dean fled to a nearby truck and drove through a pasture to a barn, where he hid before barricading himself in a motor home parked near the barn. It led to a six-hour standoff that began about 2 a.m.

"The suspect made no attempt to speak with deputies, but stood in the front windshield of the motor vehicle and continually pointed the gun at his head, and made threatening gestures with the weapon toward the deputies," said Jay Webb, spokesman for the Harrison County Sheriff's Office. "He then closed the curtains on the motor home and did not respond to repeated voice commands by deputies to come out of the motor home."

The shooting was investigated by Rangers and the Harrison County Sheriff's Office.

<strong>Gladewater shooting</strong>

On Aug. 2, three Gladewater officers responded to a report of a fight in the alley behind a business on South Main Street. When they arrived, Police Chief Farrell Alexander said, officers entered the business and found Green with a knife.

"Officers advised the man several times to drop the knife, and he refused to comply," Alexander said.

One officer was involved in the shooting, the chief said, and a total of three officers present, Alexander said. "Tasers were used by two separate officers prior to the use of deadly force by the third officer," he said.

Green was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The shooting was investigated by Rangers, Gladewater Police and the Gregg County Sheriff's Office.

<strong>Kilgore shooting</strong>

In the first of the three shootings Aug. 1, Kilgore police received a 911 call from a person - later identified as Freeman - who reported his father had been kidnapped and was being held at a next-door neighbor's residence.

After arriving, officers discovered the caller "was possibly suffering from some type of mental illness and the reported kidnapping did not occur," Kilgore police spokesman Roman Roberson said at the time.

As one officer attempted to contact mental health personnel, Freeman reportedly attacked both officers with a knife.

Freeman threw one officer to the ground and the other - who had been stabbed in the left shoulder - shot and killed Freeman as he was stabbing his partner in the neck and back of the head, Roberson said. Both officers were treated at an area hospital, but have since returned to patrol.

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