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01-14-09, 08:16 PM #1
Sheriff pushes girl out of path of gunfire during standoff with armed man, gets his ear blown off.
A Liberty County man was charged Monday with attempted deliberate homicide for allegedly shooting the county's undersheriff in the ear.
Undersheriff Doug Riggin responded to a call of a domestic dispute on the Skari ranch north of Chester between ranch hand Josh Gwynn, 30, and his wife around 5 p.m. on Saturday.
When he arrived, someone told Riggin that Gwynn was spotted driving the Skari's semi to a farm shop.
The Skari's 16-year-old daughter escorted Riggin to the shop. When they walked in the door and flipped on the light, they saw Gwynn pointing a small-caliber rifle first at the girl and then at Riggin, Liberty County Attorney Hugh Brown said Tuesday.
Riggin pushed the girl out of the shop — a motion that was enough to shift him out of the way of the bullet fired at his head, Brown said.
"He moved slightly and because he did, he took the bullet in his left ear instead of in his head," Brown said. "The undersheriff was very fortunate and so was the kid."
The girl ran and hid and Riggin went outside to call for backup, moving his patrol car away from the shop building. Brown said it was then that Riggin realized how seriously he was hurt.
Brown said Gwynn turned out the lights and drove away shortly thereafter, but the deputies called for backup met him before he left the ranch and Gwynn was arrested without incident.
Because the incident involved an officer, state officers with the Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating.
Gwynn appeared in Liberty County Justice Court on Monday on the charge of attempted deliberate homicide and Brown asked that bail be set at $2 million. Gwynn remains in jail.
Brown said a neighboring county attorney will likely prosecute the case.
Riggin was taken to the Liberty Medical Center in Chester where he received about 20 stitches on his ear. Brown said was working again Sunday.
01-14-09, 08:20 PM #2
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