Nacogdoches Co. sheriff addresses 3rd fatal deputy-involved shooting in 10 months

Darrell Legnon (Source: Cherokee County)
Darrell Legnon (Source: Cherokee County)
Cushing ISD sign (Source: KTRE Staff)
Cushing ISD sign (Source: KTRE Staff)
Scene of the shooting incident (Source: KTRE Staff)
Scene of the shooting incident (Source: KTRE Staff)

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Tuesday night's officer-involved shooting which left one man dead was added to a string of fatal shootings by Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputies. The fatal shooting was the third in 10 months.

That frequency left even the sheriff asking why there have been so many fatal officer-involved shooting incidents.

On Thursday, East Texas News took a closer look at why law enforcement officers choose to use deadly force.

When Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges got Tuesday night's call that two more of his deputies took a man down, he knew what to expect. He's gone through the procedure twice before.

He even expected Facebook critics asking why Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputies have been involved in so many killings.

"I don't know if this is just a run of bad luck for Nacogdoches County," Bridges said. "Three in a year is a lot for a county our size, and I would definitely agree with that, but the officers are being proactive. They're out working, and when they're doing that, you're going to encounter more bad guys and so the chances of things happening are going to increase.

How does Nacogdoches County compare with other counties about the same size? Each year from 2009 to 2011 there was an officer-related shooting in Harrison County. All subjects shot were armed and opening fire on deputies.

San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Moody at first said he couldn't remember when such a shooting occurred. After further thought, he said there was one almost two years ago.

Further research found articles saying officer shootings are cyclical and not an indication of bad officers.

Bridges said he views it as an indication his deputies are doing their jobs.

"If we sat back and did nothing, then the chances of anything happening would probably never happen, but when you go out and look for people breaking the law and you try to bring crime down, you deal with more felons," Bridges said. "That's what we're dealing with because we're out being proactive and so the chances increase."

Bridges said violence against officers has increased nationwide, including ambush-style attacks.  Then there are suspects like Darrell Legnon who was killed Tuesday night. Bridges described him as a man who wanted to go down fighting.

"He evidently thought he was going to go back to the pen," Bridges said. "He had made those statements before to people that this was what was going to happen when the police tried to capture him."

There are explanations, but no predictions about if and when deadly force will be used again by a Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputy.

"You know, I don't know why we have had three of these in a year," Bridges said. "Hopefully, we'll go another 20 years before we'll have another one, but we could have another one tomorrow you just never know in law enforcement."

Two Nacogdoches County deputies remain on leave until the internal investigation is complete.

Texas Rangers found the other deputy-related shootings were justified.

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