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Arrest made in case of Tarleton State student shot in face

Police made an arrest Thursday in the shooting of Jamie Richards, 19, a Tarleton State University student.
Police made an arrest Thursday in the shooting of Jamie Richards, 19, a Tarleton State University student. McClatchy

A 26-year-old man was arrested and is expected to be arraigned Friday in the shooting of Tarleton State University student Jamie Richards, police said.

Richards, who was shot in the face, appears to have been the victim of "mistaken identity over drug-related issues," said Stephenville police Sgt. Sha King in an email Friday.

Shawn Patrick Layton was arrested after authorities searched a residence in the 1100 block of West Hyman. He faces a charge of aggravated assault with a weapon, according to a statement from the Stephenville Police Department.

Layton mug.JPG
Shawn Patrick Layton Courtesy Erath County Jail

Layton is in the Erath County Jail and is expected to be arraigned Friday. The recommended bond is $750,000.

Richards, 19, was found shot in the face inside her apartment early Monday morning.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit:

Stephenville Detective Kevin Fincher learned from the apartment manager that one tenant had asked to move since the shooting, Jeremy Lau.

Lau admitted during an interview at the police department that he believed he was intended target of the shooting, and that he "was in the business of selling marijuana, and that Shawn Patrick Layton was a disgruntled customer with whom Lau had conflict with in the past."

Lau told police he believed the suspect had knocked on the wrong apartment door.

The search of Layton's apartment turned up loaded cartridges that matched the casings found next to Richards' head, and a shiny, black face mask, along with black clothing.

Police initially responded at 1:18 a.m. to the Oak Tree West Apartments, 2251 W. Lingleville Road, to a report someone had been shot.

Officers found Richards inside an apartment with a single gunshot wound to the face. She was taken by Stephenville Emergency Medical Services to Clark Field and then by helicopter to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Stephenville police Sgt. Sha King said they believe the shooting is related to a report of a shot being fired at the apartment complex at 9:55 p.m. Sunday. He said the caller told 911 dispatchers about hearing a loud bang, but was unsure whether it came from inside or outside the apartments.

"Our officers responded immediately and arrived at 10:01 p.m.," King said. "They searched the east side of the building and a wooded field area for about 10 minutes but did not find anything related to a shooting." King said they received a second call at 1:18 a.m. from neighbors who found Richards inside an apartment unit suffering from a gunshot wound.

Members of her family said her spine was severed in the shooting, and that doctors worked to repair it, according to The Flash Today Erath County on Facebook.

Richards is awake, and can feel sensation in her arms and legs, but hasn't moved them yet, The Flash Today reported.

This story contains information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Judy Wiley: 817-390-7843; @judygwiley

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