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Sheriff: Inmate fatally shoots Texas deputy

/ Source: The Associated Press

A part-time sheriff's deputy was shot and killed Monday by an inmate she was escorting from a court hearing to a van at a northeast Texas courthouse near the Arkansas border, officials said.

Bowie County Deputy Sherri Jones, 54, died in the basement of the county courthouse in New Boston after the 2:30 p.m. Monday shooting, said Chief Deputy Larry Parker.

Jones was escorting Tucker Strickland, 21, to the van for transfer back to a state facility where he was confined when Strickland overpowered her, grabbed her pistol, shot her and fled in the van, Parker said. Authorities in Arkansas found the van later in Ashdown, Ark., about 30 miles northeast of New Boston, Parker said.

Strickland was booked into the Miller County Jail in Texarkana, Ark., where he awaits extradition, Parker said. He said deputies and Texas Rangers were obtaining a capital murder warrant for Strickland late Monday.

Bowie County is about 140 miles northeast of Dallas on the Texas-Arkansas border and includes Texarkana, Texas.

Jones was a part-time deputy and had been with the Bowie County Sheriff's Office for six years, Parker said.

A Bowie County grand jury had indicted Strickland in November on a count of assault with bodily injury in family violence, Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle told the Texarkana Gazette.

His public defender, Bart Craytor, asked for a psychological evaluation and retired District Judge John Miller granted the request. A report concerning Strickland's mental state concluded he was incompetent to stand trial, he said.

The Monday hearing was scheduled to address Strickland's non-compliance with medication at Rusk State Hospital, Rochelle said.