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DPS identifies trooper involved in fatal Upshur County shooting

Jan. 17, 2017 at 11:11 p.m.


The Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday identified the highway patrol officer involved in a fatal officer-involved shooting Jan. 3 in Upshur County.

DPS spokeswoman Jean Dark identified Trooper John Smith as one of the law enforcement officials involved in the shooting of Dale Hightower Jr., 53, of Gilmer. Upshur County Sheriff's Office Deputy Ramon Ortiz also was involved in the shooting.

Smith and Ortiz are on paid administrative leave while the Texas Rangers investigate the shooting.

Smith joined the Department of Public Safety in 2009 and is assigned to the office in Gilmer.

A custodial death report for Hightower's death said that at the time of the shooting, Ortiz and Smith were responding to a report of a suicidal man who was holding two women hostage. Hightower pointed a rifle at officers and ignored multiple commands to drop his weapon, the report said.

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