Local law enforcement authorities are investigating an apparent capital murder/suicide after two Anderson County residents were found shot early Monday on a county road off of U.S. 287, south of the Palestine city limits.

Authorities are withholding the victims’ names until fingerprints can be analyzed at the Southwestern Institute for Forensic Sciences in Dallas, according to authorities.

The victims are believed to be a 19-year-old white male and 23-year-old white female who had been involved in an “off and on” relationship in recent months, according to authorities.

“It’s a (capital) murder/suicide, that’s what we’re investigating,” Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor said late Monday afternoon. “It appears he shot her and then turned the gun on himself.”

The female was roughly halfway through a pregnancy, according to Troy Black, chief deputy for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities are uncertain whether the deceased male was the baby’s father, but say DNA evidence could determine the paternity of the child.

Since the woman was pregnant, her death would be classified as capital murder under state law.

The female victim was pronounced dead at the scene by Anderson County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace James Todd, while the male died Monday afternoon at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, according to Black.

Shortly before 12:15 a.m., Monday, Black said an Anderson County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to CR 1406 which is located off of U.S. 287, approximately 4 miles south of Palestine.

Calling from a cell phone, a passing motorist described “an individual sitting in a pickup truck slumped over and had a weapon in his lap,” Black said.

Officers arrived at the scene in approximately six minutes, the chief deputy added.

“Upon arrival, they (deputies) found there were actually two people in the vehicle,” Black said.

The chief deputy said the two persons were in a 1981 Chevrolet pickup purchased by the male approximately one week ago.

The male was initially transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center and later life-flighted to the Tyler hospital where he died Monday afternoon, authorities said.

Authorities believe the individuals were discovered a relatively short time after being shot, according to the chief deputy.

Black said both individuals appeared to have been shot once with a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle which was found in the 1981 Chevrolet truck.

Approximately six hours earlier, around 6 p.m. Sunday, Black said the male had been issued a traffic citation in another part of Anderson County. The female victim was observed standing outside the vehicle by the officer at the time of the issuance of the citation, the chief deputy added.

The female subsequently left the location of the traffic citation with the male, but authorities believe at this time that she “voluntarily” got in his vehicle.

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Paul Stone may be contacted via e-mail at pstone@palestineherald.com



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