LUBBOCK, Texas – Court records identified the shooter in a November 5 deadly incident in the 2100 block of 90th Street. Chad Read, 54, was found dead on the scene. However, those same court records were then sealed Friday after the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and its website, lubbockonline.com, reported on them.
Lubbockonline.com reported State District Judge Ann-Marie Carruth filed an affidavit in her ongoing divorce case with William “Kyle” Carruth. The judge wrote under oath that her estranged husband is under investigation for the deadly shooting.
As of Monday, Mr. Carruth has not been charged with any crime related to the shooting.
When EverythingLubbock.com attempted to view those same court records first thing Monday morning, we were told they were sealed on Friday.
Divorce records are generally open in Texas. Divorce records can be sealed if “a specific, serious and substantial interest which clearly outweighs this presumption of openness… [and] no less restrictive means than sealing the records will adequately and effectively protect the specific interest asserted.”
However, in the Carruth divorce case, the order itself is also sealed. So, there is no way to know what the “substantial interest” is. Judge Carruth asked for the records to be sealed on September 30 even before the shooting. Her request for sealing the records only said they “do not involve matters that should be available to the general public.”
“I would be curious to know why [the records] are sealed, because I’m not aware of any justifications for that,” Lubbock Criminal Defense Attorney, Russell Gunter II, said. “We’ve had judges go through divorces, those are public records.”
In the meantime, EverythingLubbock.com made an open records request to the office of Texas Attorney General. The Texas AG took over the case after a request for recusal from the Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Sunshine Stanek.
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- LPD transfers files for Chad Read deadly shooting case to Texas AG
A small number of documents were provided by the AG including a slightly more detailed version of the original police report which we acquired on November 9.
The AG version of the police report said the incident was a “homicide” and the description of the event was “murder.”
The public copy of a police report is not the final outcome of the investigation. Police have not said if investigators will pursue a criminal charge or if they believe the shooting was self-defense.
Police have not officially named Carruth. It is standard procedure for police to hold back a name until charges are filed. However, EverythingLubbock.com raised questions about transparency on November 9 when the police report was only four lines long.
EverythingLubbock.com reached out to Kyle Carruth both by phone and by email to invite comments or a statement. We will provide updates when possible.