Hood County deputy dies of gunshot wound

Posted Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds recalled the day a few years back when Lance McLean asked to rejoin the department.

McLean had left to take a job as an investigator in nearby Hamilton County, where he lived, but he missed the Hood County Sheriff’s Department, and the deputies and their boss felt the same about him.

Deeds didn’t hesitate: He brought McLean back as sergeant.

“That was a good day for our office, when he came back,” Deeds said Saturday after McLean’s death at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

McLean was shot in the head Friday by Ricky Don McCommas, 49, described by police as a firearms dealer and former security guard.

McCommas fled to Granbury and was fatally shot outside City Hall after wounding Granbury police officer Chad Davis.

McLean, 38, was the first deputy to answer a disturbance call at Edgecliff Court in the Oak Trail Shores community, north of Granbury, Deeds said.

After being shot about 10:50 a.m., McLean was taken by helicopter to John Peter Smith Hospital in very critical condition.

He remained on life support until he died at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, an emotional Deeds told a news conference at the hospital.

The sheriff called McLean a “great leader of men and women” and a dedicated family man who, with his wife, Katy, was raising two special-needs children.

He said one of the children is autistic and the other is in a wheelchair. His devotion to them “made him a stronger man,” the sheriff said.

An avid Texas Rangers fan, McLean was easygoing as a patrol sergeant and a member of the city-county SWAT team. But, Deeds went on, McLean “could take care of business when he needed to.”

The sheriff said that McLean excelled during last month’s deadly tornado outbreak and that he possessed the skills to be promoted to lieutenant or captain.

“I had many plans for him,” Deeds said.

McLean was a training officer, Deeds said, and had just finished instructing a rookie deputy, who is taking McLean’s death “very hard.”

The suspect

McCommas, of Joshua in Johnson County, was scheduled to appear at a Cleburne court hearing Friday after being accused in the aggravated sexual assault of a child in July 2012.

On Saturday, Joshua Police Chief Annabeth Robertson described the victim as a 16-year-old girl.

Robertson said McCommas was accused of assaulting the teen behind a Brookshire’s grocery store that was under construction in Joshua. McCommas was arrested in August and released on bail.

His trial was scheduled to begin in August, Robertson said.

Rather than going to court, McCommas went to the teen’s home to confront her.

Instead, he came face to face with McLean.

Firearms at house

Johnson County Sheriff Bob Alford said a search of McCommas’ home Friday led to the seizure of “a little less than three dozen” firearms, including several semiautomatic rifles and handguns.

The sheriff said he was told that McCommas had a federal license to deal in guns.

Johnson County sheriff’s deputies, Texas Rangers and agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found about 10,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers, including .223, .308, 9 mm and .45, Alford said.

McCommas also had shell casings, bullets and gunpowder.

“Obviously, he was a reloader,” Alford said.

The search recovered a .308-caliber rifle that appeared capable of firing fully automatic, and ATF experts were trying to determine whether it could, he said.

Deputies also found a sound suppressor.

Both require special permits under the National Firearms Act of 1934. The sheriff said ATF agents were checking whether McCommas had such permits.

McCommas worked at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth from April 2004 to October 2012, said hospital spokeswoman Nikki Hall-Branch. She declined to disclose his position.

Robertson, the Joshua police chief, said her department was told that McCommas was terminated as a security guard last fall. She said another local law enforcement agency reported that he had used his security badge after his dismissal.

Authorities said they have found no criminal record for McCommas aside from the sexual assault charge.

Robertson is concerned that McCommas had so many guns, she said, but as far as she knows, he possessed them legally as a dealer.

Since he had not been convicted of any crimes, he did not have to surrender them.

Sacrifice saved lives

Hood County deputies knew there could be trouble Friday when McCommas showed up at the home on Edgecliff Court.

Deeds said a “criminal trespass warning” had been issued to McCommas, cautioning him not to approach the teen’s home.

After wounding McLean, McCommas fled to Granbury and had a shootout with police outside City Hall, authorities said.

Davis, the Granbury officer, was struck in the upper right arm, and the bullet “exited out of his back,” Police Chief Mitch Galvan said.

On Saturday, Galvan said that Davis was “better” and that the married 12-year veteran is expected to make a full recovery at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

Alford, the Johnson County sheriff, said that he didn’t know McLean but that his sacrifice saved lives.

“This McCommas — he had motives and he had intent,” Alford said. “He proved it in downtown Granbury.

“But if the sergeant hadn’t got to the house and intervened, there’s no telling what could have happened” there.

Funeral services for McLean will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the high school football field in Hico, Deeds said.

Visitation with the family is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Hico Baptist Church.

Deeds said donations to help the McLean family can be made at Hico First National Bank or at any Community Bank in North Texas.

Staff writer Bill Hanna contributed to this report.

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