Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 25, 2014

Man with Cherokee County ties killed by Nacogdoches officers

Paul Bryant/The Daily Sentinel
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CHEROKEE COUNTY — Two Nacogdoches County deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay following the shooting death of Darrell Joseph Legnon on Tuesday night.

“About 10:59 p.m., a Cushing ISD resource officer conducted a traffic stop on a motor vehicle after observing (it) on the Cushing ISD campus,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. “The vehicle attempted to elude the officer, but he was able to catch up with it and stop the vehicle on Hwy. 204 at 6th Street.”

Two Nacogdoches County deputies in the area went to the scene to back up the CISD officer.

“The vehicle ... was occupied by three male subjects. The Cushing ISD officer was making contact with the driver of the vehicle while the deputies with NCSO were at the rear of the vehicle watching the other two suspects.”

Sheriff Jason Bridges said that’s when a passenger in the front seat exited the car with a shotgun.

“(He) turned toward the two deputies that were at the rear of the vehicle, and (they) immediately instructed the suspect to put the weapon down repeated times,” he said. “The suspect replied, ‘No,’ and then pointed the shotgun at deputies.”

The officers opened fire.

“At that time, deputies were in fear of their lives,” Bridges said. “(They) then engaged the suspect after he continued to point a shotgun at them. Deputies and first-responders attempted life-saving efforts for the suspect.”

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Judge Kerry Don Williamson

pronounced Legnon, 25, dead at the scene.

“Upon county emergency medical personnel arriving on scene, it was determined the suspect had succumbed to the injuries occurred during the armed confrontation,” according to the press release.

Bridges said the Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said the investigating officer had nothing “to release at this time.”

But according to sheriff’s officials, Legnon made “numerous comments in the last several days” that he was going to kill a police officer.

“It was also learned through numerous tattoos on the suspect’s body that (he) has active ties with a white supremacist hate group. Legnon has an extensive criminal history and has made a previous confession to law enforcement that he was an Aryan Brotherhood gang member,” according to the press release.

According to publicdata.com, Legnon’s criminal history in Texas includes convictions in Nacogdoches and Cherokee counties for theft and criminal mischief.

“Legnon was currently out on bond for two counts of aggravated robbery in Cherokee County and (for) unauthorized use of a motor vehicle,” Bridges said.

The Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office is also conducting an internal investigation of the shooting death.

In March, three deputies were no-billed by a Nacogdoches County grand jury following their involvements in the 2013 shooting deaths of Kevin B. Koonce and John Stevens.

One deputy was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of internal and Texas Ranger investigations into Koonce’s death on Aug. 7. And on June 17, two deputies were placed on paid leave after they shot and killed Stevens. All three deputies returned to duty after about two weeks