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Police: Kilgore man tried to kill father in explosion

By Richard Yeakley
May 3, 2013 at 11 p.m.

Kilgore police and firefighters encountered a macabre scene Thursday when they answered a suspicious vehicle call and found two men locked inside a pickup with a spewing propane tank. One of them was unconscious, and the other threatened to ignite a lighter and blow up everyone in the vicinity.

William Emmett Lawson, 50, of Kilgore, was held Friday in the Gregg County Jail under $500,000 bond accused of trying to kill his 76-year-old father, Robert Lawson.

Investigators accuse Lawson not only of the propane threat, but of trying to strangle his father as rescuers plucked the unconscious man from the truck.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the Gregg County District Attorney, William Lawson told police his father had been in hospice care for a year and a half and was unaware of what was happening that afternoon.

Lawson also said his father was "not a very nice person" and he admitted trying to strangle him as a firefighter pulled the elder Lawson to safety.

Kilgore police found the two men about 4:30 p.m. Thursday in a truck in the 500 block of Gladewater Street.

"Dispatch advised two subjects had been sitting in a pickup truck at an abandoned residence for several hours and the truck had signs on the window which said 'Danger Propane,' " the criminal complaint stated.

The responding officers said they could smell the propane, and tried to contact the passenger, Robert Lawson, who was not responsive.

When police approached the driver's side, they said William Lawson showed a long butane lighter and threatened to ignite the propane.

William Lawson told police, "Get back, I'm going to kill us all. I'm going to blow it up, I'm going to blow it up," the criminal complaint against him states.

At that point, officers broke the passenger window glass and firefighters "immediately deployed water and dry chemical fire extinguishers into the vehicle to prevent ignition of the gas," and began to pull Robert Lawson from the vehicle.

"While attempting to extract Robert Lawson (firefighter Richmond) Crumpton observed Defendant was attempting to strangle Robert Lawson with a portion of Robert Lawson's shirt tail and was using both hands to tighten the shirt around his father's throat," the complaint stated.

Rescuers revived Robert Lawson, who was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Kilgore after regaining consciousness. He was then transferred to the to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview where he was listed Friday in critical condition.

William Lawson was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

While under arrested, Lawson told police he intended to kill his father and himself and then attempted to strangle his father after the vehicle was breached to kill the man before he could be removed from the vehicle, the criminal complaint said.

Lawson also said his father "was not a very nice person" and "does not believe anything is wrong with him," according to the complaint.

Lawson added he intended to kill himself "because you could not commit murder and then rejoin society."



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