San Angelo Man Shot by Police During Standoff Finally Booked into TGCJ
SAN ANGELO, TX - This week, the arrest affidavits for Gary Ray Wright, 67, and Brenda Joyce Wright, 60, became available to local media and outlined the events that took place on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. As previously reported, Gary Wright called David Wagner with KLST and KSAN and said he was about to have a standoff with police; he advised Wagner to "get their cameras ready." In light of the release of this information to the public, San Angelo Police Chief Frank Carter reiterated the actions taken by first responders that day, and the severity of the issues facing police officers at this time.
In the arrest affidavits of the Wrights released by the Justice of the Peace to local media, Texas Ranger Philip Kemp explained how, on Jan. 13, 2017, SAPD Criminal Investigations Sgt. Lucien (Doug) Thomas contacted him in regards to an officer-involved shooting in the 1200 block of E. 21st St.
"In addition to the shooting, a structure fire had been started by the occupants of the residence," said Kemp in the affidavit.
At the scene, Kemp contacted Texas Ranger J. Nick Hanna, SAPD Sgt. Thomas, and SAPD Detectives Adrian Castro and K.L. Dye. They all responded to the residence based on the 911 call placed by Gary Wright.
"Upon arrival, officers encountered an individual armed with a rifle located near the front of the residence," said the affidavit. "At the time, the armed individual was observed interacting with a female subject located at or near the front of the residence."
Despite repeated verbal commands to drop the weapon, Wright failed to comply and pointed the rifle in a threatening manner at SAPD officers.
"San Angelo Police responded to the deadly threat with deadly force and neutralized the armed individual, subsequently identified as Gary Ray Wright," said the affidavit. "Gary Wright was transported to Shannon Hospital, as was the female subject, identified as Brenda Joyce Wright."
At the residence, Ranger Kemp met with San Angelo Fire Marshal Ross Coleman, who located eight glass jars filled with gasoline.
"Also in the glass jars were either syringe needles or screws," said the affidavit. "Also inside the residence were several aerosol canisters placed throughout the residence, which exploded during the fire."
After obtaining a search warrant for the residence, Ranger Kemp located a shotgun loaded with rifled slugs and several rounds of ammunition of the same caliber as the rifle used by Gary Wright.
During an interview with Ranger Hanna and Detective Castro, Brenda Wright explained how she and her husband had become frustrated with life.
"The couple was dissatisfied over how a recent traffic accident had been investigated by the San Angelo Police Department," noted the affidavit. "The couple viewed this as the 'last straw,' and decided to put into motion a plan the couple had been planning for several weeks."
Kemp explained that the Wrights schemed to summon police to their residence, set their residence on fire, and then kill police officers as they responded.
"Brenda Joyce Wright detailed how she armed herself with a shotgun, hid in the bathroom by a window, and waited for a police officer to come into range, with intent to shoot any police officer she observed," read the affidavit.
However, Mrs. Wright was unable to execute her plan due to heavy smoke from the fire.
During his interview with Ranger Kemp and Sgt. Thomas, Mr. Wright told the officials he made the gasoline bombs, or glass jars filled with gasoline, needles and screws. He said he intended on throwing them at the responding officers.
The affidavit said, "Gary Wright also confirmed he was angry with police and had called 911 about wanting a shootout with [them]. [Kemp] also reviewed a recording of the 911 call where Gary Wright identified himself and asked for police officers to respond because he wanted to kill the officers."
Wright also said he had been "messed around" with for several years and was going to take it out on the police officers. Wright admitted "he was armed with a weapon of some sort."
According to jail records, Wright has been arrested four times in Tom Green County, but his arrests date back to the 1970s. He was arrested for DWI, Possession of Controlled Substance and Marijuana. This is Brenda Wright's first arrest in Tom Green County. They both face Attempted Capital Murder charges, and Brenda Wright's bond was set for $250,000. Gary Wright has yet to be officially processed through the jail system.
Chief Carter's Response
After this incident, and the one involving another San Angelo man at Schlotsky's in November 2016 (see here), and based on the events going on around the country, Chief Frank Carter had a few things to say in response to the newly released information on the Wrights' attempt to murder police.
Overall, Chief Carter said SAPD officers are specially trained in how to respond to these types of events.
"Officers respond with the mindset of first providing safety for citizens in the area, and also themselves," said Carter. "They arrive, assess the situation, and make a determination on how best to procede."
Almost immediately after their arrival, SAPD officials contacted Bradford Elementary, and the school was placed on lockdown for safety. SAPD also evacuated residents and bystanders from the area.
Because of the many officer-involved shootings that have garnered nationwide media attention, officer-involved shootings are heavily scrutinized, said Chief Carter.
"The 'instant' news that is available is very convenient, but incorrect information can quickly spread after an event," he said. "Gossip and rumor are repeated as fact. We strive to have a transparent relationship with the media, which fosters a partnership of trust. It also ensures accurate and timely information is provided to the public."
This is why Carter wanted to provide a response today. Knowing media would be releasing the arrest affidavit information, he wanted to make sure citizens understand what officers faced that day, and every day. These kinds of incidents are not a common occurrence in San Angelo, but Chief Carter added that there are policies and procedures in place that address how an officer responds to these situations. Chief Carter previously said SAPD officers did all they were supposed to, so no changes in procedures are planned at this time.
He added, "The San Angelo Police Department has outstanding officers who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the citizens of San Angelo." He also said "honesty and transparency are building blocks for a solid relationship and public trust."
This incident, and the more recent one where 26-year-old Westwego Police Officer Michael Louviere, a former Marine, was shot in the head after pulling over to help a pregnant woman on the side of the road (more here), is a prime example of what officers face daily on the job.
"This is a tragic example of how a routine call can turn deadly," said Chief Carter. "Officers are well aware of these types of incidents and know staying alert and vigilant in any situation is a must."
When tragedies like officer-involved shootings do occur, however, Chief Carter said he will do his best to always be transparent. He also continues to do what he can to build and maintain trusting relationships with the citizens of San Angelo during these troubled times.
"I make daily patrols so I can stay connected with the public," he stated. "I like to visit with residents every day as a way of obtaining feedback. I want to hear what their problems are, and what they’re seeing. That’s one of the ways I determine how our officers are doing. It is important to maintain those relationships."
In regards to the "accident" the Wrights referred to during questioning, we are waiting for further details pending approval because of the ongoing investigation. We will continue to provide updates when available.
UPDATE JAN. 25 @ 4:25 P.M.
At 2:50 p.m. this afternoon, 67-year-old Gary Wright was finally booked into the Tom Green County Jail for Attempted Capital Murder of a Peace Officer or Fireman. Currently, he is being held with no bond.
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