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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Thursday, May 16, 2002

Georgia slaying suspects arrested after motel standoff

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thursday, May 16, 2002 -- A man and woman wanted for two killings in Georgia were arrested  this morning following a 90-minute standoff at a motel on the south  side of Pecos. One of the murders took place on Mother's Day.  No information was available regarding the second murder the two  are suspected of. 

James Robert Moody II, 23, and Tabitha Hope Colson, 23, were taken into custody about 8:15 a.m. following the standoff, which took place in a room at Motel 6, on the northeast side of the building. Guests from adjacent rooms were evacuated over a three-hour period, after Pecos Police Sgt. Ismael Gamboa discovered the pickup the couple was driving, and which reportedly belonged to one of the murder victims.

"We got a teletype to be on the lookout for a maroon 1994 Chevrolet pick-up with Georgia license plates," Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney said. The police received the teletype message at 4:18 a.m., and Gamboa located the pickup about 10 minutes later, following a check of area motels.

"We were also told to be on the lookout for two suspects, a white male and a while female who were wanted in connection with two homicides in Georgia," McKinney said. "The owner of the vehicle was murdered. He was shot in the back of the head at close range."

The names of the Georgia murder victims could not be confirmed at press time.

After locating the pickup, McKinney said Texas Ranger Gerry Villalobos was called, and came over from Fort Stockton, while members of the local SWAT team and other officers from the police department, Reeves County Sheriff's Department and Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force were called to the scene.

"The first thing we did was disable the vehicle so it was not operable. The second step was to evacuate the hotel," the police chief said, adding that the effort took a while, since it was done while trying not to alert Moody or Colson, who were in Room 130 of the motel.

"They said they were from Savannah and were going to either San Diego or San Francisco," said Rick Stewart, a pipeline worker headed for El Paso, who was staying with another man in Room 131. "They called me about 4:30 this morning and told me to leave my stuff in the room and get up and get out as quietly as possible. They were very professional about it."

"We didn't get out until 7:30," said Debbra Capps of McGregor, who was traveling with her family to Deming, N.M. The Capps' room was just to the west of where Moody and Colson were staying, and she said she didn't know about the situation until she took her dog out for a walk "and there were guns all pointed at us."

"They got us out before 5 (a.m.), said Emily Lee, of Vicksburg, Miss., who was staying with her family in Room 134. "What we saw out here was the girl came out with her arms up and went to the right (north side of the motel), and the man later came out and they made him walk backwards with his arms up."

Moody was taken to the south side of the motel, where he was made to kneel on the grass while Department of Public Safety officers and SWAT team members searched the room.

McKinney said two guns, a 9 mm and a .22 caliber weapon, were found inside the suspects' room.

Another motel guest said that Moody apparently cut his hair sometime during the night, while Stewart said both he and his roommate visited with Moody and Colson earlier in the evening.

"They got here last night and were like bouncy little kids. Daryl (Stewart's roommate) played his guitar for them. She said she was a singer," he said.

Greyhound shootout leaves one dead, two wounded

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thursday, May 16, 2002 -- A Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officer and a woman were  wounded while another man was shot and killed Thursday morning, following a  gun battle on board a Greyhound bus in Pecos.

The Los Angeles-bound bus was stopped at the Greyhound station at Third and Cypress streets in Pecos, which is located next to the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force's office on South Cypress Street. Task Force Officer, Jaime Rodriguez was on the bus with a second officer, Mike Henderson, when the shooting occurred about 9:35 a.m.

"They were doing a bus interdiction and two officers were aboard the bus at the time," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez. "There were three officers doing the interdiction."

Both the man involved in the gun battle with the officers and the woman were passengers on the bus. Officials said when the two officers began to question the man, he pulled out a gun and began firing. Rodriguez was struck in the abdomen area, while the female passenger was hit in the back.

The man, who was not identified, was then shot and killed by one of the officers. Gomez said they were not sure if the man was carrying drugs on the bus, or if there was some other outstanding warrant against him.

Gomez said that bus interdictions are done on a routine basis. "Officers get aboard the bus and look for illegal drugs," he said.

Passengers said the shooting occurred without warning.

"He was sitting on the back of the bus and nobody knew he had a weapon," said Christian Zuniga, who was traveling with his wife, Dana at the time of the incident.

"They don't check us or the luggage, so nobody knows if they are carrying something like that" said Dana Zuniga. "He had been sitting in the back this whole time, the entire time we've been on the bus he was too."

Zuniga said that the individual was traveling alone. "All of a sudden he just started shooting," she said. "We didn't know who he was shooting at, but he shot a girl in the back."

A number of the passengers were enroute to California. "We were all headed to some part of California, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, other parts of California, so that's probably where he was headed too," said Christian Zuniga.

"At this time, we can say that one officer was shot, Jaime Rodriguez, who is an officer with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force," said Gomez.

Several officers arrived at the scene within seconds, including Texas Ranger Gerry Villalobos.

Villalobos and Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards were on their way to have breakfast following another incident that occurred early this morning. The two were on Third Street where the incident occurred and arrived at the bus station within minutes of the shooting.

Both Rodriguez and the female passenger were transported to Reeves County Hospital, before being flown to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock. Rodriguez was flown by airplane, while the female passenger was flown by helicopter.

Rodriguez is said to be in serious condition, according to Gomez. The other officer aboard the bus, Henderson, was not injured in the incident, while the woman reportedly was in stable condition.

"The shooter is dead, he was shot by one of the officers, and that is still under investigation," said Gomez. "He is still inside the bus, while they are investigating," he said this morning.

"He didn't know her, because she was sitting on the bus with her boyfriend and he was sitting in the back by himself," said Christian Zuniga.

The shooter was pronounced dead at about 10:15 this morning by Justice of the Peace Lamberto Herrera.

Villalobos and other law enforcement officials from the area were already in Pecos following a standoff at Motel 6 this morning in which two murder suspects from Georgia were arrested.

The man's body will remain the Greyhound bus awaiting the arrival of the Department of Public Safety's Crime Scene Unit from Austin. They had already been called out to Pecos about an hour before the shooting in connection with the incident at the motel.


PECOS, Thursday, May 16, 2002 -- High Wednesday 100. Low this morning 68. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows 60 to 65. Southwest winds 10 to 15  mph: Becoming north toward sunrise. Friday: Partly cloudy: Breezy:  And cooler. Highs near 85. North winds 15 to 25 mph. Friday night: Partly  cloudy. Lows near 55. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 80. Sunday: Partly  cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Highs near 85.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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