DPS releases name of man killed in Onalaska shootout

DPS releases name of man killed in Onalaska shootout
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ONALASKA, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Department of Public Safety has released the name of the 20-year-old man who died after he was involved a shootout with Onalaska police officers at a convenience store Tuesday afternoon.

"You never know what makes people tick," said Krysta Stewart.

"He was a good dude just went through a lot of depression," said Greg Skinner. 

Trooper Stephanie Davis, a DPS spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the man who died in the officer-involved shooting was Eugene Frank Smith II, of Onalaska.

"What if I would have been chilling here in my car?"said Skinner. "You can definitely tell the employees at work were shook up about it."

"No matter what happened, he was still somebody's child," said Stewart. 

"At the request of the Onalaska Police Department, the Texas Rangers are handling this investigation," Davis said. "Since this is an active criminal investigation, all information is preliminary and cannot be released in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation."

Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said that Smith was employed as a TDCJ guard when he was shot and killed. Clark said Smith started working for the TDCJ on Oct. 8, 2014.

According to a previous East Texas News story, the shootout occurred at the town's Valero convenience store Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Roy Newport confirmed three officers were involved in a shootout with a man with a shotgun.

"Our patrol officer responded to a man in the parking lot with a gun," said Newport. "Shots had been fired."

The Onalaska patrol officer was the first to arrive at the scene, in need of backup.

"She took a shot to the car, before she got out," said Newport.

Newport explained that when backup arrived they, the firing had yet to cease.

"They took defensive positions and returned fire," Newport said.

Emergency medics arrived to the scene of the shooting soon after the shots finished. The man was hit by gunfire from the officers and later died at a Livingston hospital.

"This is what keeps a mayor, chief of police, and fire department up all night worrying about what could happen," said Newport. "We're a six man force, and we're a little short-handed right now."

According to the mayor, the county is loaning the city patrol cars and officers to maintain the order of the Onalaska Police Department, while the investigation continues.

All three officers suffered superficial wounds related to the shotgun fire, and two patrol cars suffered damage.

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