During a news conference Thursday afternoon, it was announced that the Potter County Grand Jury found that the officer involved in the shooting death of a 58 year old man back on August 3rd was justified in that shooting.
"The grand jury found that he did act responsbily in defense of 3rd person and himself at the time that the shots were fired by the officer and that's going to conclude the investigation.", says Randall Sims, 47th District Attorney.Potter County Deputy Steve White is that officer. He shot and killed Gary Don Carner after a short crime spree. You may recall, Carner was the suspect in a number of crimes that included the attempted kidnapping of 3 girls. Carner shot and killed the grandmother of one of those girls when she stepped in to protect the girl at the Love's Truck Stop in the Bushland area.
"I've been with Potter County basically for 25 years this is probably one of the worst, what I'll call, short crime sprees that am aware of happening in Amarillo, much less Potter County.", says Sims.The crime spree came to an end when Potter County deputies found Carner and shot him."Those 2 officers involved did an excellent job in handling that situation, in my opinon, to the absolute best they could of handling it. Any other way could of ended up with a hostage situation or something much worse than what it already was.", says Sims.
Randall Sims adds that not only were the officers involved heroes, but so were those victims and witnesses who stayed calm and reacted the way they did. Amarillo Police also say they will never know what lead Carner on that series of events, but after speaking with family and friends his actions were out of character. Meantime, Deputy White has been on administrative leave pending this investigation as required by law. Again, the investigation is now closed.
Today a Potter County grand jury found Officer Steve White to be justified in the shooting and killing of Gary Don Carner, 58, of Amarillo. District Attorney Randall Sims said the officer, victims, and witnesses are heroes, they all acted accordingly and stayed calm.August 3, Carner began his crime spree that included three kidnapping attempts and one murder. Carner shot and killed, 63-year-old Sharrel Blankenbaker of Felt, Oklahoma outside a Love's truck stop between Amarillo and Bushland. Blankenbaker was protecting her young granddaughter who Carner was attempting to kidnap. Carner's crime spree didn't stop there, after shooting the grandmother, he then abducted a young girl. Luckily the little girl was able to jump out of the moving vehicle when she spotted a Potter County Deputy vehicle. At that point Carner got out and began firing at the officers, Officer White then fired back killing Carner.
On another note, Lt. Gary Trupe with APD Special Crimes, who was also at today's press conference said that in regards to the shooting at the Sorority House on July 29th, they may never know who shot, Christopher Bailey. The bullet was left inside Bailey for medical reasons. Trupe said they may never know who shot him but after reviewing evidence he believes it was police who shot him. The case is expected go before a Randall County grand jury later this month or next.
During that incident police broke up a large fight that happened in the club's parking lot. Markeen Walker, 17, fired a gun in the air before pointing it at police. It was at that time when police fired back at Walker. Walker was taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries, he is now in custody and charged with two counts of attempted aggravated assault against a peace officer with a deadly weapon.