ETX woman, man fatally shot in suspected murder-suicide
EAST TEXAS (KSLA) - East Texas authorities are investigating a possible murder-suicide.
A woman was fatally shot Sunday morning at a residence on Farm-to-Market Road 959 north of Beckville.
Then the man suspected of killing her took his own life less than a half dozen miles away near Tatum, the Panola County Sheriff's Office reports.
Lester Delvecchio Lewis, a witness, identified the slain woman as a family friend.
"He shot her in the head."
Lewis said it happened as he was getting ready for work. His wife was not at the home at the time.
Someone had dropped the man off at the house that the couple rents, Lewis said.
Lewis said he went outside to check on his generator and, when he came back inside, the man was sitting in his living room with the gun in his hands.
The two talked for 20 to 30 minutes.
"He was walking around with the gun. I am trying to get him to put the gun up," Lewis recalled.
Lewis said he left the room to take a shower and get dressed because he had a job to get to.
The next thing he knows, the woman came back where he was and said "Let me in the bathroom; he is pointing the gun at me," Lewis recalled.
Then the man and woman argued.
"All of the sudden, he was hollering for her to give him her phone," Lewis said.
"She was like, 'No, you can't have my phone.'
"Then I just heard a shot. Pow! And then it gets quiet."
The gunman then demanded the keys to Lewis's truck.
"I threw the keys out the door, closed the door back and kneeled down in the tub because I did not know if he was going to shoot through the door or try to shoot and kill me."
Lewis said the man left and he called 911.
Authorities say they were called about the shooting about 10:50 a.m. Sunday.
Deputies found a woman dead of an apparent gunshot wound in the residence.
A witness reportedly told investigators that a man armed with a rifle like an AK-47 shot the woman after a brief altercation then demanded the keys to the witness's vehicle and fled in the black Ford Explorer.
Shortly after, a Tatum police officer found what appeared to be a disabled vehicle on Highway 149 and notified the Sheriff's Office.
"At the time, the officer did not know that this was possibly the murder suspect due to the short period between the shooting and the information being obtained by investigators," says a statement from Sheriff Kevin Lake.
"The officer took cover and demanded the suspect out of the vehicle, at which time the suspect took his own life with the suspected murder weapon," the sheriff's statement says.
The woman's death is being investigated by Panola County authorities and Texas Rangers.
Texas Rangers also are helping Tatum police and the Rusk County, Texas, Sheriff's Office investigate the man's death.
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