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'We need to pray for our city': Violent crimes making headlines in Bell County

Posted at 7:36 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 08:50:40-05

Cities in Bell County have been at the forefront of the headlines over the last few days with shootings happening at major intersections in Killeen and Harker Heights in broad daylight.

A high-speed chase turned attempted carjacking ended in Killeen with a shooting on Tuesday. Killeen police told 25 News a 31-year-old man wanted in connection with several convenience store robberies in Dallas led officers on a chase after law enforcement attempted to arrest him.

The pursuit started in Killeen and traveled south on I-14 in Nolanville. Police said the suspect traveled back to Killeen and drove the wrong way on the Central Texas Expressway.

Authorities said the man ditched his vehicle at the intersection of Rosewood Drive and used a handgun to try and carjack another driver.

Police said the civilian was also armed and both men exchanged gunfire. The driver shot the suspect several times in what police are calling "an act of self-defense."

Paris Grove and Earnest Lambert say they were the first ones on the scene and attempted to help the suspect after he was shot.

"After the gunshots subsided, it was about 7 of them, we saw this man staggering in the road and we were like oh my god is he okay? I think I keep thinking about the blood and his face. I had never actually seen somebody look lifeless like life was slipping away from them," said Groves.

The suspect received medical attention and police say he is now stable.

"All I thought was someone needs help. I was glad she was the driver and made the decision to go over there even though she was shaken up and everything," Lambert said.

Police Chief Charles Kimble said "We have evidence, strong evidence that he was a suspect in previous robberies. If we go back a few months there have been some serious robberies and a series of assaults that have happened in our community and in the Killeen community and surrounding areas like Harker Heights."

Just up the road, Monday afternoon the Harker Heights Police Department began investigating a fatal shooting.

Officers responded around 2:45 p.m to a report of a shooting at the intersection of access road Central Texas Expressway and Indian Trail.

Police said a victim was at the light of the major intersection when a car with four men came from behind and began firing shots from the back seat.

Harker Heights police say Ty Andre Gentle, 19, of Copperas Cove, was ambushed and killed. He died as a result of injuries sustained when he was shot multiple times.

Ty Andre Gentle, 19, of Copperas Cove

Groves and Lambert are baffled by the back-to-back shootings, the two are turning to their faith for comfort.

"We need to pray for our city," said Groves

Lambert said, "It just put it into perspective and kind of put it in front of our faces you know so it forces us to be adamant and consistent by continuing to pray for our city."

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Harker Heights Police Criminal Investigations Division at (254) 953-5440, or Bell County Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477).