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September 12, 2007
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Details emerge from fatal Texas shooting

By F.A. Krift
The Odessa American
Related:  2 Texas officers fatally shot, 1 critically injured responding to domestic
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ODESSA, Texas The man accused of killing two Odessa police officers and injuring another didn’t act as if anything was wrong when he was taken away from the crime scene Saturday, a Texas Ranger captain said Tuesday.

Larry Neil White simply asked for his eyeglasses when he was strapped to the gurney, said Capt. Barry Caver, who responded to the scene and whose Ranger unit company is leading the homicide investigation.

"He was told he wasn't going to need his glasses,” Caver said Tuesday.

Caver also said that White didn’t appear to be in pain despite being shot in his right side. He was inside his home when an as-yet-unidentified officer shot him from outside. The bullet exited White’s body, Caver said, and has not been recovered.

Despite the injury, White appeared stable and acted “like just no big deal,” Caver said.

The investigation into the slaying of corporals Arlie Jones Jr. and John “Scott” Gardner and the shooting of Cpl. Abel Marquez remains in the initial stages, Caver said.

The Rangers will piece together an event timeline through radio and 9-1-1 logs, Caver said, and finish taking statements from witnesses, including other officers who responded to the western Odessa shooting in the 2900 block of Ventura Avenue.

"Typically, we wait 24 hours before taking statements of officers involved, simply because of the trauma,” Caver said. "... Your mind tends to temporarily block that information."

White, 58, faces two capital murder charges and three attempted capital murder charges. With District Judge Stacy Trotter denying his bond, White remains in Ector County Detention Center jail.

White requested an attorney when investigators attempted to interview him Saturday, ending any discussions law enforcement could have with him, Caver said.

Initially autopsy reports indicate Gardner and Jones were shot in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun, Caver said. Marquez was also shot in the head with a shotgun.

Caver couldn’t confirm how many times any officer was shot. An initial witness statement indicated that at least one of the shots was fired from inside the home at the officers, Caver said.

White told Odessa Police Crisis Intervention Unit officers during the standoff that he’d been drinking whiskey, Caver said.

If Medical Center Hospital tested White’s blood-alcohol content, it won’t be available until investigators subpoena the hospital records, Caver said.

A SOMBER MOOD

Odessa police continue to support the Rangers investigation in a secondary role, Chief Chris Pipes said, but the entire department staff is heartbroken over the deaths.

"I’m stunned,” Pipes said. “I feel greatly sorry for the families. I’m struggling not to feel in my heart hatred for this man that sits in jail."

Assisting the investigation, helping support the grieving families and leading a police department through normal duties helps soothe Pipes' shocked system.

"Although it's tempting to sit in the corner and cry for our loss, we have to carry on for the benefit of those families and the benefit of those citizens," Pipes said.

The department has lost friends, he said, suddenly and tragically. While they train and plan for such traumatic situations, Pipes said the experience isn’t something that is anticipated.

Two other Odessa police officers have died in the line of duty. Cpl. Gordon “G.T.” Toal and Officer Scott Stanton Smith died in separate motorcycle accidents in 1982 and 1987 respectively.

"Even though it’s in the back of your mind every day, this is not supposed to happen here,” Pipes said. “... We’re not a huge city where police officers get shot at frequently."

LAWYER APPOINTED

Attorney Woody Leverett of Midland was appointed White’s counsel Tuesday morning.

Leverett met with White in jail Tuesday, but he wouldn’t discuss White’s mental state or condition.

"I can’t give you anything at this time,” he said. "I don’t know if I will be able to in the future. I don’t want to try this case in the media."

Leverett, who is the co-counsel for Leo Angel Luna in his capital murder trial, said he hadn't talked with White's wife, Judy.

Repeated efforts to reach Judy White have been unsuccessful.

Larry White declined all media interview requests Tuesday, Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson said — but he did meet other visitors during visitation hours.

White remained on close watch Tuesday night, Donaldson said, guarding him against any self-inflicted violence or attacks from others.

"We’re talking about somebody accused of shooting three officers," Donaldson said. "We want to make sure no one gets back there and hurts him."

Copyright 2007 The Odessa American

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