Clay County sheriff’s deputy grateful to be alive after shooting
CLAY COUNTY, Texas (KAUZ) - “As I was driving off back on the highway, I looked up at my mirror and I could see blood on my neck so I figured somewhere did penetrate, I couldn’t feel where,” said Breanton Chitwood, the Clay County sheriff’s deputy who was shot on Monday.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement across Texoma continue to search for an unidentified suspect who fled from the deputy after the shooting.
The Jolly Travel Center is a truck stop along Highway 287 between Wichita Falls and Henrietta. Just over 24 hours ago, it was also where Deputy Chitwood was forced to pull his patrol car over after being shot in the chest by a speeding driver who had something else in mind besides a ticket.
“For some reason I had a feeling something didn’t seem right and I just wanted to make contact right away,” said Deputy Chitwood.
Deputy Chitwood said he had just started his shift for the night when he noticed the vehicle from last night, a late model Cadillac sedan, speeding.
“I said okay, it’s just the usual. People do it all the time, it’s 287. I slowed down, he slowed down with me and then finally he passed me and that’s when I went to intercept,” said Deputy Chitwood.
After running the car’s license place and finding out they didn’t match the vehicle, Deputy Chitwood hit his lights. The driver seemed to pull over with any problem, but that would soon change.
“By the time I got to the middle column of his car, his window started rolling down and as I was standing there he just turned around and shot,” said Deputy Chitwood. “I felt the impact on my vest and I was thinking like woah you just shot me.”
Once in safe place behind the car, the deputy began to return fire on the suspect before the car took off.
“I knew what I signed up for,” said Deputy Chitwood. “It’s sad that it happens, I mean it’s a part of the job. I signed up to serve a community.”
Deputy Chitwood suffered a cut to his neck from shrapnel after the bullet hit his microphone and vest.
The suspect’s car was found in Wichita Falls Tuesday morning. It was abandoned but Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde said it’s a huge step forward in getting the suspect off the streets and behind bars.
“Once you find something solid like a car, the car has a VIN number, the car will give a registered owner, then we can find the registered owner,” said Sheriff Lyde. “If that’s not the guy that was doing the shooting, then he or she is gonna know who it is.”
The shooting has brought together law enforcement from far and wide.
“The Secret Service and the FBI have all reached out to try and help us. This guy is caught, we just haven’t got him yet,” said Sheriff Lyde.
Thanks to his bulletproof vest, Deputy Chitwood only has a bruise where that bullet hit him and he is just thankful to be alive.
“That’s the thing, you watch videos to try to learn from people’s mistakes,” said Deputy Chitwood. “I’m lucky that I can watch my video and learn from it instead of not being here.”
Deputy Chitwood said while he took a day to take it easy, he plans to head back to work this week.
The suspect still remains at large and Wichita Falls Crime Stoppers are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is matching that reward, bringing the total up to $10,000.
If you have information, you can call Wichita Falls Crime Stoppers at (940) 322-9888. Long distance callers should dial 1-800-322-9888. You can also use the P3 Tips app on your mobile device or visit their website here.
You never have to give your name when reporting.
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