Sheriff's Office: Cherokee Co. shooting believed to be isolated incident

RUSK, TX (KTRE) - Cherokee County deputies continue to investigate the shooting incident involving the Rusk State Hospital employee who was shot while on his lunch break Tuesday.

According to Capt. John Raffield, investigators believe this was an isolated incident that was directed solely at the victim, Garrett Curtis, 22, of Alto.

An investigator spoke briefly with Curtis Tuesday night at a Tyler hospital, but the interview was cut short due to the medication Curtis was on.

"The victim made statements to several people prior to the shooting, that he had been in an altercation with some individuals from another county in the past week, and this shooting was in direct retaliation to that altercation," Raffield stated.

Curtis was attending a new employee orientation program of the Rusk State Hospital in Rusk on Tuesday. According to investigators, Curtis left, saying he was going to get lunch. He later drove himself back to the Hospital with a gunshot wound in his upper body.

Sheriff deputies spent Wednesday morning searching for a location on Highway 110 where Curtis told them the shooting took place. Officials were unable to find the exact location.

At this time the Cherokee County Sheriff's office is following several leads including looking for a silver dual-wheeled pickup truck.

"He did mention to my investigator and we did look into that and checking people that do drive those vehicles. And another thing that has came to light is something may have happened over the weekend and we are checking that out as well," said Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell.

At this time, a drug deal gone bad has been ruled out.

"There's nothing at this point and time to indicate that it was. As far as we know, the young man is a good man that comes from a good family and we have nothing at all to indicate drugs were involved," said Campbell.

Campbell also added that at this time the sheriff's office is not worried about an active shooter in the community.

Campbell has been in communication with a family member of Curtis and was told that he will hopefully be released fro East Texas medical Center in Tyler by Wednesday evening.

Campbell hopes that after a few days of rest, Curtis will be able to give a more detailed description of what happened.

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