Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, May 16, 2002
Georgia slaying suspects arrested after motel standoff
By JON FULBRIGHT
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
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
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
By ROSIE FLORES
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.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise