10-20 countryman-01

Terry Countryman. Countryman shot an Anderson County Sheriff's deputy Saturday, prompting a manhunt, and eventual gun battle that ended in his death.

Before he was shot and killed by a state trooper Saturday, Terry Countryman was slipping.

Countryman, 34, of Palestine, had been released from prison less than a year ago. His girlfriend had left him for another man, and he was on a meth binge, friends and acquaintances of Countryman told the Herald-Press Sunday.

On Saturday, Countryman's wild and lethal flight from law enforcement ended with a state trooper's bullet at about 5:30 p.m., near FM 2330 and County Road 458.

Jennifer Key, 44, an acquaintance of Countryman's , said she had seen him a day before his deadly encounter with police, apparently wasted on crystal methamphetamine.

“He was most definitely on a meth binge,” Key, a local customer service agent, told the Herald-Press Saturday. “He may have been upset about a love interest of his having left him for another man.”

At about 3:30 p.m., after stealing a company vehicle, Countryman wounded Anderson County Deputy Bradley Colman in a shoot-out at the Hickory Ridge Mobile Home Park on Hickory Ridge Road.

He then stole Colman's squad car and fled. After he rammed a Palestine Police Department vehicle near Montalba and shot at officers, he ran with a rifle taken from the deputy's squad car. Then he stole a blue SUV, crashed it, and ran into a woods.

At about 5:30 p.m. a state trooper found Countryman, who pointed a rifle at the trooper. The trooper fired his service weapon and hit Countryman, who later died at Palestine Regional Medical Center, the Texas Rangers reported. The trooper was not injured.  

On Monday, Deputy Colman remained in the Intensive Care Unit at a Tyler hospital, following surgery Saturday night and Sunday. He was in stable and improving condition, Sheriff Greg Taylor said.

Some who knew Countryman were shocked at his violent ending.

“I didn't see this coming at all,” Key said. “He'd said a few crazy things but nobody expected anything like this. One just assumes it's the drugs and lack of sleep.”

 Countryman, an oil-field worker and 2003 graduate of Elkhart High School, served more than a year in prison in Florida for possession of methamphetamine in 2017 and aggravated assault in 2018. He was released from prison in November 2018, the Florida Department of Corrections reports.

Former Palestine police officer John Herod told the Herald-Press Sunday the PPD had arrested Countryman several times for drug-related offenses.

Countryman was employed by Houston-based Noram Drilling Company, according to his online profile.

The Palestine Police Department, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Criminal Justice dog tracking team, Anderson County Game Wardens, and Department of Public Safety assisted Anderson County deputies Saturday.

Taylor visited Colman Saturday and expressed gratitude to all agencies involved.

Key said Countryman's initial altercation with Colman was most likely triggered by a vehicle Countryman had stolen.“He stole a company truck with two generators on it,” she said. “He wrecked that vehicle before his shootout with the deputy.”

The Texas Rangers continue to investigate.

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