Thursday, October 28, 2010




Deputies kill man in shootout
Gunfire follows search for missing son of former governor south of Athens
Monitor Staff Reports

ATHENS—A body found in a shallow grave on the property of his “survivalist” neighbor south of Athens has been positively identified as the son of former Texas Governor Bill Clements. Texas Rangers are looking into the shootout that threatened the lives of Henderson County Sheriff’s deputies and ended the life of 46-year-old Howard Todd Granger, neighbor to the missing man, Ben Gill Clements.
A memorial service is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday at St. Michael and All Angels Epsicopal Church in Dallas, birthplace of B. Gill Clements.
A missing person’s report prompted a search 11:30 p.m. Thursday, continuing through the wee hours Friday on Clements’ property located on County Road 4610, near Brown Road and State Highway 19, in the Koon Creek area.
Some officers were mounted on horses and dogs were used to help locate Clements through the night. The shallow grave was uncovered Saturday morning with a few items of clothing and wallet found nearby. The body was sent to forensics and was positively identified Monday, according to news reports.
The search escalated into a shootout Friday around noon when Granger initiated gunfire, to warn law enforcement away from his property.
“He threatened us with an AK-47 for being on his property, and we were not on his property,” Sheriff Ray Nutt told a reporter from the Athens Daily Review.
Law enforcement responded with a warrant for his arrest and a search warrant issued by Justice of the Peace Milton Adams.
But when they tried to serve the warrants, Granger fired at them with the AK-47.
Nutt had already called in an armored vehicle from the Tyler Police Department. The vehicle is available to law enforcement in five neigboring counties under a Homeland Security grant.
The standoff was concluded with officers inside the armored vehicle advancing on Granger, who sprayed it with more than 100 rounds of ammunition.
A single bullet from a well-placed sniper killed Granger where he stood.
“We returned fire. Mr. Granger is now deceased,” Nutt told the Athens Daily Review.
Described as a loner and a survivalist, Granger had once worked as a delivery driver for an auto shop in Athens 10 years ago. Neighbors didn’t know how he supported himself since then.
Other residents told a Dallas Morning News reporter that they had seen Granger on his property with an AK-47 or had heard automatic gunfire from his direction late at night.
The same neighbors knew very little about Gill Clements, who worked as president of Southeastern Drilling Co., also known as Sedco, founded by his father in 1947 until its sale to Schlumberger Ltd. for $1 billion in 1984. (See page 11A for Clements’ obituary.)
Neighbors said he visited his Henderson County ranch often and in recent years had been buying land to extend his property.
A search of Granger’s property tuned up a cache of weapons, some semi-automatic, and a generous supply of ammunition, Nutt said.
Granger’s body was sent to Dallas for autopsy. Nutt said his wife was at the scene during the police action.

Area dodges tornado
Weekend storms bring hail, wind, rain
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Three separate waves of storms blew through the Cedar Creek Lake area Saturday, but they caused remarkably little damage.
The first storm spawned a tornado that damaged Rice High School along Interstate 45, north of Corsicana, but aside from some wind and relatively small hail, the lake area escaped unscathed.
Two more storms then formed right over the lake area before racing to the east-northeast at speeds from 45 to 50 mph.
KLTV Channel 7 in Tyler suspending all programming Saturday evening to focus on the numerous thunderstorms moving across the East Texas region.
The station’s Doppler radars clearly showed one subsequent storm, then a second, blowing up into serious cells in a matter of minutes.
At one point, five separate cells could clearly be seen on the radar, stretching from the lake area up toward Canton and heading east toward Edom, Murchison, Brownsboro and Chandler, later racing right across downtown Tyler.
Storm spotters could clearly see rotation in the clouds above Trinidad and Eustace, but no tornadoes touched down in the immediate area.
Aside from the Rice tornado, which was photographed by a number of people, the storms also spawned twisters along I-30, in the Sulphur Springs and Mount Pleasant areas, and dropped up to baseball-sized hail in some areas, damaging vehicles and roofs.

Watchful neighbor’s call to police foils burglary attempt
Monitor Staff Reports
CRANDALL–A predawn phone call from a sleepless neighbor to police foiled a burglary attempt Oct. 19, near Crandall.
Kaufman County deputies responded to the 1700 block of County Road 4106 in reference to a suspicious person, a press release stated.
Upon arrival, a suspect driving a stolen golf cart fled into a nearby wooded area and was later apprehended.
Numerous stolen items were recovered that had been loaded on to the back of the cart.
About this same time, calls reporting burglaries in the area started coming in.
With the help of the Crandall Police Department, the suspicious persons were located in the Wind Chase addition and were taken into custody.
They were driving a Ford Expedition hooked up to an enclosed trailer. The Ford was reported stolen out of Collin County.
A search of the immediate area turned up two all-terrain vehicles, as well as property from three reported burglaries. Total value of recovered property was estimated at $30,000 and all was returned to the homeowners, according to the press release.
Carlos Alfredo Ruiz, age 20, of Dallas and Jose Luis Perez, 29, of Mesquite were both charged with burglary of a building, two counts of theft stolen property. Perez was also charged with possession of marijuana less than two ounces. Both were taken to the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center with bonds totaling $28,000 for Ruiz and $33,000 for Perez.
While searching the stolen Ford Expedition, investigators also found a map with several locations marked in Ellis County, where the suspects’ involvement into several burglaries there is undergoing investigation.
“The arrest was made possible by the citizen who noticed suspicious activity and called it in,” Sheriff David A. Byrnes stated.

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