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July 01, 2013
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Texas cop dies of gunshot wound to head

Sgt. Lance McLean, 38, confronted a sexual offender who fired at McLean then fled, and was killed by police

By Bill Hanna and Bill Miller
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Hood County deputy died at a Fort Worth hospital Saturday, a day after he was shot during a Granbury disturbance call involving a man later killed in a shootout that left a police officer wounded.

Sgt. Lance McLean, 38, of Hico, who died at 11:45 a.m. at John Peter Smith Hospital, was called a great leader and family man by an emotional Sheriff Roger Deeds of Hood County.

"He could take care of business," Deeds told reporters at JPS. McLean was married and had two special-needs children. "Caring for them made him a stronger man," the sheriff said.

McLean was the first deputy to arrive at the disturbance call at Edgecliff Court in the Oak Trail Shores community north of Granbury, Deeds said.

The gunman, Ricky Don McCommas, 49, described by police as a gun dealer and former security guard, fled to Granbury after shooting McLean in the head and was himself fatally shot outside City Hall after wounding a Granbury police officer.

During the news conference, Deeds said McLean was a "great leader of men and women" yet who was easy going as a patrol sergeant and member of the city-county SWAT team.

The sheriff said McLean's performance excelled during last month's deadly tornado outbreak and that he possessed the skills to be promoted to lieutenant or captain. "I had many plans for him," the sheriff said.

Friday's incident began when McCommas confronted a 16-year-old girl he was accused of sexually assaulting.

McCommas, of Joshua, was scheduled to appear in a Cleburne court on Friday. Instead, authorities said, he went to the teenager's home on Edgecliff Court.

McCommas was scheduled to go to trial on the sexual assault charge in August, said Joshua Police Chief Annabeth Robertson.
A search warrant was executed at McCommas' home in Joshua on Friday by the Texas Rangers, who removed numerous firearms and ammunition.

McCommas had worked at Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Fort Worth from April 2004 to October 2012, said hospital spokeswoman Nikki Hall-Branch. She declined to disclose his position.

Deputies responding to the disturbance call were aware of McCommas because of an earlier "criminal trespass warning" to him about approaching the teen's home.

After shooting McLean, McCommas fled to Granbury where he engaged police in a shootout at City Hall, authorities said.

Police officer Chad Davis was wounded in the upper right arm by McCommas and the bullet "exited out of his back," said Police Chief Mitch Galvan said.

Davis is "better today," Galvan said Saturday, adding that the married, 12-year veteran was expected to make a full recovery at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

A witness named Joe Vandaveer was at a nearby business when the gunman pulled up Friday and got out with a firearm. A photo taken at the scene showed a semiautomatic weapon with very large capacity magazine.

"He stares right at us," Vandaveer said. "About that time, police pulled up behind him ... and he turned toward them and started walking toward them. We started backing up. The shooting started, and we turned and ran.

"I don't know what he was running from, what he did, but he definitely wanted to get at the cops. He had a very determined look on his face."

Galvan said they rushed out of City Hall when McCommas pulled up.

"It was a shock to everyone," Galvan said.

John Luton, president of First National Bank of Granbury, said he could hear the sirens approaching and quickly realized that officers weren't responding to just a traffic accident. Then he heard the rapid exchange of gunfire.

"It's not something you're used to hearing sitting inside a 150-year-old rock building," Luton said.

Dozens of shell casings were found around McCommas' van.

One woman said she first thought the shooting was one of the Old West re-enactments that are conducted regularly on weekends in the popular downtown area.

"But this was a whole different kind of noise," she said. "It was bam-bam-bam!"

Staff photographer Max Faulkner and staff writer Diane Smith contributed to this report.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Copyright 2013 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram






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