Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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January 24, 2013

Texas Rangers investigate death of man shot by Alto police officer

(Continued)

ALTO —

However, after Griffin departed the store, the clerk called 911 about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday. The call went out to officers as an aggravated robbery, according to reports.

After leaving the store with the cigarettes, Griffin started walking along 69 south sidewalk until he reached a donut shop in the 200 block of US Highway 69 South. There, an officer stopped him, some type of confrontation ensued, and at least one fatal shot was fired.

Neighbors across the street from the donut shop said they heard about the shooting but did not witness anything. A man who owns a trailer parked adjacent to the donut shop said he arrived there at 7:30 Wednesday to find the investigation by authorities still in full swing.

"There were lights flashing, crime scene tape everywhere and the man's body still laying in the street," said Sonny Skeeters, 80, an Alto native. "There was maybe 150 people across the street, watching."

The shooting specifically will be investigated by Texas Ranger Sgt. W.R. "Rudy" Flores, who could not be reached to comment Thursday. A call to the Texas DPS was deferred to Dark, who sent out a press release with some basic information about the incident that did not specify how many shots were fired.

The man's body was sent to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas County for an autopsy.

At a press conference held at city hall Wednesday afternoon, Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson said he did not speak to Officer Smith or debrief him about what happened before turning the case over to the Texas Rangers. As a result, the chief said there is little information he can provide about the incident or the investigation to reporters.

"As soon as I arrived on the scene, he was placed in safety," Jackson said. "I placed him in his patrol car."

Jackson said to his knowledge, this was the first officer-related shooting in Alto in at least a decade.

The police force was only reinstated about 13 months ago after having been sent on a six-month furlough, then fired and replaced in 2011.

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