Gunman in West Texas rampage was Marine sought in murder case

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by Associated Press

kvue.com

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 9:05 PM

EDEN, Texas (AP) — Officials say a Marine suspected in a string of West Texas shootings that left one person dead and five wounded was sought for questioning in a North Carolina homicide.

Master Sgt. Jonathan Cress at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, N.C., said Monday that the Marine was wanted for questioning in a homicide in nearby Jacksonville, N.C.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the man as 23-year-old Esteban J. Smith of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.

In a statement Monday, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger says Smith later died in a gunfight with an agency trooper and a state game warden. Authorities say the Texas shootings seemed to be random.

A total of seven people were shot, one fatally, in the pre-dawn rampage across West Texas' rolling plains, Vinger said in a statement issued Monday.

Three people were treated for their wounds in hospitals and discharged. Two others, including Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds. Texas authorities said the gunman seemed to choose his targets at random.

Camp Lejeune officials would not confirm the suspect's name. However, spokesman Master Sgt. J.D. Cress said in an e-mailed statement that authorities were investigating a possible connection between the Texas shooting and a homicide in Jacksonville, N.C., near the Marine base. He also confirmed that the Texas shooting suspect was an active duty Marine.

The Texas shootings began about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, when the gunman shot a motorist in the Eden area of Concho County, about 40 miles southeast of San Angelo and 210 miles southwest of Dallas. She was hospitalized in San Angelo with non-life-threatening wounds, Vinger said.

Over the next 90 minutes, two more people were shot while sitting in a car at a convenience store in adjacent McCulloch County. Both were treated for their wounds and discharged from a hospital, Vinger said.

Shortly after 6 a.m., Alicia Torres, 41, was found dead in her car in Eola, just east of San Angelo, Vinger said.

The suspect fired on the vehicle of Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane when the sheriff came upon him north of Eden, according to DPS. Doane was wounded in the gunfire and hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds, Vinger said.

A state trooper and game warden came upon the scene and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was killed.

An assault rifle, handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were recovered from his vehicle, Vinger said.

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