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Mon March 8, 2010
Gunman identified in Wal-Mart shooting
COMMERCE - Authorities have identified the subject who was shot and killed Sunday following a shooting outside the Commerce Wal-Mart.
29-year-old Artenio Rodriguez, of Commerce, was initially seen in Greenville firing shots into the air before a chase led to Commerce.
Rodriguez does have a criminal history in Hunt County dating back nearly a decade. It includes unlawful possession of weapon, driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.
Officials have also reported that Paul Robertson, the off-duty Delta County Deputy credited with helping bring down Rodriguez, was released Monday from East Texas Medical Center in Tyler.
Commerce Police Officers were able to intercept the vehicle along SH 24/50 just outside the Commerce City limits where Rodriguez opened fire on Commerce Officers. Commerce Officers returned fire at this time but were unable to stop the vehicle. Rodriguez continued to Wal-Mart where he exited his car and entered the front entrance of Wal-Mart displaying a rifle and a pistol. Here is where Deputy Robertson spotted the gunman, identified himself as law enforcement and ordered Rodriguez to drop his weapons. After failing to do so, Rodriguez opened fire on Deputy Robertson. Commerce Police Officers were on scene and were able to take Rodriguez down immediately before anyone else could get hurt.
"The incident that took place at the Commerce Wal-Mart Supercenter is unfortunate," said Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews. "However, the quick response and action by Commerce Police and off duty Deputy Paul Robertson eliminated injuries to innocent bystanders. Officers train for this type of incident in hopes of never having to use that training."
Crews continued, "The officers involved had to use their training and experience and were able to overcome the threat. Without the quick thinking of Deputy Paul Robertson I believe that more people could have been injured."
A thorough investigation is being conducted by Commerce Police Department and the Texas Rangers.
"I would like to thank Sheriff Randy Meeks with the Hunt County Sheriff's Department, and Chief Harold Roseberry for the assistance they provided from their departments. An incident of this magnitude tests the resources a small department has. If we didn't have assistance from both Hunt County SO and Greenville PD it would have been more difficult to manage," said Crews.
Victims that were present during the shooting are encouraged to contact The Crisis Center of North East Texas for counseling. They can be reached at 903-454-9999.
Due to the ongoing investigation and the nature of the incident, 911 tapes and police video will not be released until the investigation is complete.