Cleveland, TX – The manhunt for the gunman who shot a Liberty County deputy in the neck on Wednesday morning ended shortly after 2 p.m. when the suspect shot himself.
All three victims were employees of B Dependable Plumbing.
Police believe the incident actually began on Tuesday evening, when Vido went to the plumbing company and fatally shot a secretary, KTRK reported.
Then the gunman waited overnight inside the business and opened fire on the two male victims when they arrived for work on Wednesday morning.
Police were notified of the incident shortly before 7:30 a.m. when the victims were found by other employees when they got to work, according to KTRK.
Vido fled the scene but then encountered Liberty County Deputy Richard Whitten several miles away.
Deputy Whitten and the suspect both pulled into the parking lot of the Big Thicket Veterinary Clinic, where they stopped their vehicles and engaged in a gunfight, KTRK reported.
“The suspect jumped out of his car, started shooting at the deputy, the deputy returned fire. The deputy was shot one time in the throat,” Liberty County Sheriff’s Captain Ken DeFoor said.
The suspect fled in a white 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis. That vehicle was later found east of Huffman, not far from the original shooting scene at the plumbing company.
Deputy Whitten, a four-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston in the Texas Medical Center where he was said to be in stable condition.
A police officer who was at the hospital said Deputy Whitten’s family had arrived and was by the side of the wounded deputy.
“Like all other mass shootings, it’s regrettable, it’s something you see no logic in and there’s no justifiable reason for something like this," Captain DeFoor told reporters.
The manager of the veterinary office where the deputy was shot said there would probably have been even more victims had Deputy Whitten not intervened, KHOU reported.
“I just heard all the commotion and walked out the back door. I saw him standing there with a gun pointed towards the policeman," Lisa Bettilyon told KHOU. “He was standing there, pointing the gun towards the cops. Very scary. Very very scary.”
“He was just determined, he had a gun pointed straight at them. He was set to hurt somebody, absolutely,” Bettilyon said.
Multiple departments participated in the manhunt for Vido, which included police K9s and mounted units, KTRK reported.
They set up a perimeter around an area nearby where the gunman’s vehicle was found.
Vido was ultimately found dead in the early afternoon by a corrections bloodhound, police said.
He had been hiding under a boat outside a home that law enforcement had surrounded, about a mile-and-a-half away from the plumbing business, KHOU reported.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Erik Burse said Vido had fatally shot himself, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Cleveland police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice assisted in the search for the fugitive.
Deputies believe the motive for the shootings was connected to a recent eviction notice that was served on Vido, KHOU reported.
Vido, a transient, had been living in a shipping container located behind B Dependable Plumbing and the owners wanted him out, Sgt. Burse said.
No information has yet been released about the identity of the woman who was killed or those of the two men who were wounded, KTRH reported.
The two men who were wounded were transported to a hospital in Conroe, KHOU reported.
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