Huntington father dies day after allegedly shooting daughter, self

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Huntington man died Thursday afternoon from a what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after shooting his daughter.

John Bruce Thornton, 69, died around 1 p.m. in a Tyler hospital, according to Angelina County Sheriff Kent Henson.

Henson said Wednesday night that it appeared Thornton shot his daughter, Mary Ellen Thornton, 26, before turning the gun on himself.

Mary Thornton is listed in fair condition at the Tyler hospital.

Neighbors say it's usually quiet. So when sheriff's deputies, police officers, state troopers, paramedics, firefighters and two helicopters landed in a nearby field, Donna Bailey started to wonder.

"Just had a baptism at the church and whenever I got back there was nothing but, it wasn't a baptism," Bailey said. "Just a blood bath or something is what I was expecting to see down there."

What she expected is what officers saw.

Apparently John Thornton called his wife to tell her he shot their Thornton in the neck. Authorities believe he then turned the 22-magnum rifle on himself.

A look at the property gives one a pretty good idea of the trek law enforcement had to make to even get to the scene.

"Officer safety was one of the top priority things getting in there to it and in a wooded area like that you never know what you're getting into and you're at a disadvantage because you're in their yard, in their woods," Henson said.

It's tough for Bailey to imagine this happening just down the road from her house.

"It was in my yard too," Bailey said. "It wasn't just across the street. It was very close to home, yes I was very afraid."

Bailey says she saw the mother today.

"I asked her well what may have happened, but she says she did not know that still remains to be seen," Bailey said.

Not officers, not family or friends seem to know what happened.

"I don't know how you could do that," Bailey said. "You have to have lost your mind somehow to have shot your own child or any child, anybody."

Why John Thornton pulled the trigger may never come to light.

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