Pastor Dead in Texas Church Shooting
Pastor Mark Allen McWilliams, 62, of Frankston, Texas, has been shot and killed Jan, 3, after the suspect was found hiding in the church bathroom following a high-speed chase the night before.
Police identified the suspect as Mytrez Deunte Woolen, 21, who has been charged with aggravated assault while exhibiting a deadly weapon, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and first-degree capital murder, according to a news release from the Smith County Sheriff's Office.
Lindale, TX, police responded to several calls on Saturday of the suspect showing a firearm through the vehicle’s sunroof.
At 7:30 p.m., a Smith County, TX, deputy saw the suspect's vehicle at a convenience store and tried to stop it, but the car sped away. Deputies gave chase for more than 20 miles, eventually joined by troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The vehicle reached speeds of around 100 mph, but one of its tires was a spare that gave out during the pursuit, causing the Jetta to crash onto the property near the Starrville Methodist Church in Winona, Smith said. The suspect was not found during this search though law enforcement, with assistance from a K-9 unit and drones, were deployed.
The next morning, before 9:30 a.m., Smith County dispatchers received a call that there had been a shooting in the church. Once the deputies departed the area, the suspect backtracked, and in order to get out of the cold, broke a church window to enter the church.
McWilliams was armed and was able to get the suspect to lie on the ground, Smith said.
"However, there was some confusion during that time. He made the suspect lay down on the floor ... the pastor got distracted ... talking to his wife and the suspect lunged at him and was able to take the firearm out of his hand," Smith said. The suspect fatally shot the pastor.
Two people were also injured -- one from a gunshot wound, and another from falling. The gunshot victim was in surgery Sunday, and his condition is unknown, Smith said. His injuries were described by Smith as non-life threatening.
Zac Wellerman/Tyler Morning Telegraph