Son of woman killed by deputy speaks

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU and HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on February 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 18 at 11:12 AM

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas -- A modest house in Bastrop is now missing the person who made it home, Yvette Smith.

"She was strong hearted, you know," said Anthony Bell, speaking of his mother. "Loving and caring, would do anything for her children. She worked three jobs if she had to. If you needed anything, she was willing to give you whatever she had."

Just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Bastrop County sheriffs were called to a home on Zimmerman Avenue. The caller said two men, who KVUE News has learned are father and son, were fighting over a gun.

When deputies arrived, one of the men was outside. The other was inside. Smith came to the door and was shot by 28-year-old Deputy Daniel Willis. She was taken to the hospital, where she died.

Initially, investigators said Smith had a gun and didn't follow the deputy's commands. Hours later, they retracted that statement saying they don't know if Smith had a gun.

The home owner and neighbors said she did not.

"This is a big tragedy for everybody, because, I mean, we feel unsafe now. I mean, an officer shot somebody without the person being armed," said neighbor Joe Martinez. "It just hurts, because now you can't trust an officer here."

And it hurts Anthony Bell and his 18-year-old brother, Chris. 

"She really was moral strong. If any issues she felt like were wrong that God would like, look down upon and be like 'Yo, that judgment's not going to pass with me,' she would let you know that's not going to fly," said Bell. "As much as I want to sit here and cry about it, I know she's patting me, saying, 'Keep your head up. Keep trucking on.'"

No one with the sheriff's office would talk about the investigation. Willis started working with the department last May. He is on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Martinez says he's lived on the block since he was eight years old and hasn't had any prior problems. However, a former resident of the area told KVUE the block is riddled with crime.

An online search revealed several incidents in the past month in the surrounding area, including an assault and theft on that very block.

The Texas Rangers and Bastrop County Sheriff's Office are investigating the shooting.

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