Hood County deputy dies at JPS after Friday shooting

Posted Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A Hood County deputy shot after responding to a disturbance call near Lake Granbury died Saturday, officials said.

Sgt. Lance McLean, 38, of Hico was taken by helicopter ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth after he was shot in the head Friday. He was pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds called McLean, who was a member of the city-county SWAT team, “a great leader” who likely would have been promoted to lieutenant or captain.

“He could take care of business,” the sheriff said during an afternoon news conference at JPS.

He “served tremendously” during last month’s deadly tornado outbreak, Deeds said.

Deeds said McLean and his wife have two special-needs children.

“Caring for them made him a stronger man,” Deeds said.

The gunman, Ricky Don McCommas, 49, fled to Granbury after shooting McLean and was fatally shot outside City Hall after wounding a Granbury police officer.

The incident began when McCommas confronted a girl he is accused of sexually assaulting.

McCommas, of Joshua, was scheduled to appear in court in Cleburne on Friday. Instead, authorities said, he went to the Oak Trail Shores community, where the 16-year-old girl lived, and shot McLean when the deputy responded to a disturbance call.

Deeds said McLean, a patrol sergeant, was the first officer on the scene Friday. Deputies, he said, were aware of McCommas because of an earlier “criminal trespass warning.”

Granbury police officer Chad Davis was wounded in the exchange of gunfire at City Hall, but his injury was not considered to be life-threatening, said Sgt. Lonny Haschel, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Davis is “better today,” Police Chief Mitch Galvan said Saturday.

McCommas was scheduled to go to trial on the sexual assault charge in August, said Joshua Police Chief Annabeth Robertson.

A search warrant was executed at McCommas’ home in Joshua on Friday by the Texas Rangers. McCommas had worked Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Fort Worth from April 2004 to October 2012, said hospital spokeswoman Nikki Hall-Branch. She declined to say what his position was at the hospital.

Haschel said that at 10:50 a.m. deputies were called to a disturbance at the Oak Trail Shores community on Lake Granbury, off Tin Top Highway, where McCommas had gone.

“Yes, he did go the victim’s house,” Robertson said.

After McCommas shot the deputy he fled toward Granbury in a white Chevrolet van, officials said.

As the van neared town, officer Davis spotted it and followed to the courthouse square, Chief Galvan said.

McCommas pulled into a parking lot at City Hall, where his van was blocked by sheriff department vehicles, Galvan said.

Joe Vandaveer said he was at a nearby business when the gunman pulled up and got out carrying “an assault rifle.”

“He stares right at us,” Vandaveer said. “About that time, police pulled up behind him … and he turned toward them and started walking toward them. We started backing up. The shooting started, and we turned and ran.

“I don’t know what he was running from, what he did, but he definitely wanted to get at the cops. He had a very determined look on his face.”

Galvan said they rushed out of City Hall when McCommas pulled up.

“It was a shock to everyone,” Galvan said.

Davis was shot in the upper right arm by McCommas and the bullet “exited out of his back,” said Galvan, who added the officer is expected to make a full recovery. He was being treated at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

Galvan said Davis is married and has a young daughter. He has been with the department for 12 years.

John Luton, president of First National Bank of Granbury, said he could hear the sirens approaching and quickly realized that officers weren’t responding to just a traffic accident. Then he heard the rapid exchange of gunfire.

“It’s not something you’re used to hearing sitting inside a 150-year-old rock building,” Luton said.

Dozens of shell casings were found around McCommas’ van.

One woman said she first thought the shooting was one of the Old West re-enactments that are conducted regularly on weekends in the popular downtown area.

“But this was a whole different kind of noise,” she said. “It was bam-bam-bam!”

Staff photographer Max Faulkner and staff writer Diane Smith contributed to this report.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 Twitter: @fwhanna Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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Video: Witness describes Granbury shootout
Granbury City Hall, West Bridge Street, Granbury, TX
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