Once Texas Rangers complete their report, officials expect a grand jury to review a fatal shooting involving an Ellis County deputy Dec. 16 near Maypearl.
According to available information released under the Open Records Act, deputies had received information that Maypearl resident Darrell Lee Lawson, a convicted felon, was in possession of a firearm and illegal drugs.
Deputies located Lawson, 60, who was driving a Ford Mustang, and began a moving surveillance, according to the information, which indicates Lawson had two male passengers, later identified by authorities as Jerry Thomas Hunter, 49, and Gary Trucky Maxwell, 31, both of Oklahoma.
According to the information, the deputies’ identities were compromised and the Mustang fled, with two other deputies in a Ford Crown Victoria equipped with emergency lights and a spotlight moving into position to make a traffic stop.
After a short distance, the Mustang ran a stop sign at the T-intersection of Oak Branch and Old Maypearl roads, striking a fence. The Mustang attempted to back out, with deputies having to move their vehicle to avoid being struck, according to the information.
Deputies then surrounded the Mustang on foot and verbally identified themselves as police while wearing protective vests with reflective lettering also identifying them as peace officers, according to the information.
“On the passenger side of the vehicle, a deputy wearing the same type of external ballistic vest with large reflective letters identifying him as a peace officer observed Mr. Hunter ignore the order and made a sudden move toward the center console of the Mustang,” information released by the sheriff’s office reads. “The deputy fired one time, striking Mr. Hunter.”
Hunter was transported to Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie via ambulance, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. His body was sent to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, the complete results of which remain pending.
A subsequent search of the vehicle console revealed a loaded 9 mm handgun, according to the information, which also notes that a substance located in the Mustang tested positive as an illegal drug.
According to public database information, Hunter had a drug-related criminal history in Oklahoma.
Lawson and Maxwell were arrested and remain in custody at Wayne McCollum Detention Center.
Lawson faces six charges from the night of the incident: manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, bond $50,000; aggravated assault against a public servant, $50,000; unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, $20,000; possession of a controlled substance over 1 gram, $2,500; possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces, $1,000; and evading arrest, $5,000.
Lawson had three outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest: unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon (Ellis County), failure to comply with a court order (Oklahoma) and evading arrest (Oklahoma), with bonds since set at $5,000, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.
Maxwell faces two charges from the night of the incident: manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, $50,000, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, $20,000.
According to public database information, Maxwell also has a history with the criminal justice system in Oklahoma.
The Texas Rangers are conducting the investigation at the request of the sheriff’s office. Once completed, the report will be given to the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office, which will then make a grand jury presentation.
The deputy involved is on administrative duty pending the official review.
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