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Officer Dies After Shootout During Traffic Stop; Suspect's Suicide Ends Standoff

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March 14, 2004

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Officer Dies After Shootout During Traffic Stop; Suspect's Suicide Ends Standoff

Officer Down: John Logan - [Huntington, Texas]

Huntington Police Officer Dies From Gunshot Wounds

The Lufkin Daily News

Huntington, Tex. Police officer John Logan died Sunday evening from gunshot wounds received during a traffic stop over the weekend. He was 33.

The shooter, who was pronounced "clinically dead" after undergoing surgery at a Houston hospital on Sunday, died a short time later after being taken off the ventilator that was keeping him alive, according to Angelina County Sheriff Kent Henson.

Logan is survived by a wife and three children. He had been with the Huntington Police Department for three years.

Police believe Sashi Roberts, 24, shot Logan after being told he was going to jail for a felony drug possession charge. Henson reported that a video tape from Logan's patrol unit shows Roberts shooting Logan in the head, then getting out of his truck to shoot the officer in the back as he lay on the ground.

Roberts fled to Nacogdoches County, where he later apparently committed suicide after barricading himself in a Nacogdoches home for two hours. Henson said that in a suicide note found at the scene, Roberts asked for forgiveness and apologized to his own family.

Roberts had warrants out of Houston for felony possession of a controlled substance and failure to appear, according to sheriff's department officials. The Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office reported that Roberts had been arrested possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct in 1998, and on an assault charge in 2003.

A spokesman for Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital said Logan died shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, according to a Monday report from the Associated Press.

A man suspected of shooting a Huntington, Tex. police officer during a traffic stop Saturday morning died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after barricading himself in a South Nacogdoches, Tex. home later in the day, according to law enforcement officials.

Sashi Kushika Roberts, 24, shot and critically injured Huntington officer John Logan, 33, shortly before noon Saturday and then led officers through Angelina and Nacogdoches counties before he barricaded himself in a residence on Wildhurst Street off South Street.

Officers shot tear gas into the house, then called for a justice of the peace to pronounce the man dead after entering the home, according to Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss and Angelina County Sheriff Kent Henson.

A suicide note was also found inside the house, Kerss said. In it, Roberts made pleas to his family for forgiveness for his actions. He expressed his love and admiration for his family and apologized to them for what he had done.

A witness in Huntington said Roberts fired a pistol at Logan during the traffic stop, and sources said Logan was struck at least twice, including once in the face and once in the back. At least one shot was also fired at the mounted video recorder in his patrol car.

Logan was transferred by helicopter from Memorial Health System of East Texas in Lufkin to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday and was listed in critical condition, according to hospital House Supervisor John Phillips.

The shooting occurred on Gibsonville Road, just off Highway 69, behind the Huntington Civic Center.

Richard Bass of Huntington said he witnessed the shooting.

"(Logan) was about to arrest the man when I heard the officer yell, ‘Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"' Bass said. "Then (the suspect) went to the (patrol) car and started shooting the video camera out. Then he got in his truck and left."

Bass' neighbor, Mark Hayes, said the officer had had the suspect's black pickup truck pulled over for "a long time. I drove by them when I ran into town for some errands. When I came back, they were still pulled over."

The driver of a wrecker that Logan had summoned to tow the man's vehicle reported the incident once he arrived on the scene to find Logan shot, Bass said.

Logan had pulled Roberts over on a traffic stop when dispatchers told him the driver had warrants out of Houston for felony possession of a controlled substance and failure to appear.

Law enforcement officers from throughout Angelina and Nacogdoches counties, along with Texas Rangers, FBI, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of Public Safety and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials were at the scene in Nacogdoches. At one point, helicopters were in the air above Wildhurst searching for the suspect before he was located.

"We really have three crime scenes," Kerss said, " — one in Huntington, one where he abandoned the vehicle and one in the house where he barricaded himself."

Roberts may have fired shots at pursuing officers, but it was unclear whether officers returned fire, Henson said.

After officers tried to spike Roberts' vehicle on South Street, he pulled onto Spradley Street and abandoned his truck in the Ponderosa subdivision. He then fled on foot and eventually holed up in a house belonging to one of his acquaintances.

"When he ran into the house, he told the lady he had shot someone and he thought he might have killed them," Henson said.

The woman left, leaving Roberts alone in her house. A neighbor tried to coax Roberts into coming out, Henson and Kerss said.

Claudia Reyes said she was home cleaning her porch when two officers walked up and told her to get in the house.

She asked what was going on, and they told her a man was barricaded in the house across the street. Reyes was home with her husband, her daughter, her two brothers and her dad. The family decided it would be best to leave, for their own safety.

Officers blocked Spradley Street and Wildhurst and checked every vehicle that tried to leave the area.

Before officers entered the house where Roberts committed suicide, the man's parents arrived at the command post. The two sheriffs spoke to the couple about what had happened, and the parents became visibly upset. Later, when it was confirmed that Roberts was dead, Henson's own pastor helped him break the news to them.

Ronnie Frankens, pastor at Homer United Pentecostal Church, said a friend had heard on the police scanner what happened. After speaking to Henson's wife, Frankens drove to Nacogdoches to offer whatever assistance he could at the scene.

"I prayed with the Keglers (Roberts' parents)," Frankens said. "They were hurt. They seemed like good people."

At one point, more than 30 cars had stopped along South Street near the scene. Many of the bystanders said they were relatives; others simply pulled out lawn chairs and watched the action from across the highway. After Roberts' death was confirmed, many became emotional. One woman fainted in the street, and others knelt and wept.

Access to the house was blocked, which proved a point of contention to some spectators. People claiming to be family members said they were upset because they didn't know what was going on. They were also upset because they were being kept away from the scene.

Roberts' driver's license listed his address in the 900 block of Wildhurst Street, but he had been living in Houston, Kerss said.

A computer check at the Nacogdoches County jail Saturday night revealed that Roberts had been arrested locally for possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct in 1998 and for assault in 2003.

Logan, 33, has been with Huntington Police Department for three years. He is married and has three children.

Angelina County Commissioner Allen Sumners, who came to the standoff scene in Nacogdoches, described the officer as having "a fantastic personality."

"Everyone likes him," Sumners said, adding that Logan had served in Angelina County without pay as a deputy constable before going to work for Huntington.

"When a vacancy came up at the Huntington Police Department, he took the job," Sumners said. "When he was with the county, he helped with the 911 addressing. He helped identify roads and put out signs."

Logan's chief and his lieutenant also had kind things to say about the officer.

"He had his own war on drugs," Lt. Steven Sifford said. "Drugs were his pet peeve, and he really wanted to see them off the street. He was a good narcotics officer and a good traffic officer."

Sifford said Saturday's shooting left him speechless.

"We're a small department, and we're more like family than co-workers," he said.

Huntington Police Chief David West said Logan was a good officer — thorough and concerned.

"He just hated drugs and he worked a lot of drug cases," West said. "If you needed him, he'd come in. Call him, he'd show up. He was always there when you needed him."

Henson said everyone should keep Logan and his family, as well as Roberts' family, in their prayers.

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