AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Three gunshot victims hospitalized after Monday night’s shooting at the Amarillo Tri-State Fair were in good condition on Tuesday, according to Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, law enforcement officials said a Potter County Sheriff’s Deputy, a volunteer for the Potter County Fire Department, and a bystander were injured during the shooting.
Judge Tanner visited the deputy and firefighter on Tuesday afternoon and said they were doing well. She said while both of them sustained gunshot wounds, neither needed surgery.
“I went to see them today and they’re doing okay,” said Tanner. “Their families were there with them. They’re very thankful.”
Tanner said the deputy, a long-time county employee, was shot multiple times in the arm and leg, and twice in the vest. She said the firefighter was shot once in the shoulder and it went through cleanly.
Tanner said a third shooting victim was being treated for his injuries, as well.
“There was also a bystander that got shot, a young boy that was there for the night, and he got shot and the bullet grazed him in the head but he’s okay.”
According to Tanner, the deputy and firefighter were off-duty and working as security for the fair when the shooting started. She said their training kicked in and they did their jobs to keep others safe.
“They had no fear. The deputy sheriff was telling me today that he said, ‘The guy I was apprehending…he ran behind one of the food vendors,’ he said, ‘And when I came around, he started shooting me.’ And he says, ‘I just kept going and just kept going and didn’t stop until I got him apprehended,'” Tanner said, recalling their conversation. “So even with the blood flying and the bullets going everywhere, he just kept going. And he said adrenaline is something that you can’t control, but you just do what you have to do. So he got it done. And I’m very, very proud of both of them.”
Tanner said it started when the suspect got into a fight with another person, and pulled out an automatic gun of some type.
“And he just started shooting and he was shot several times too,” she said, noting the suspect was taken to the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said on Tuesday that the shooting happened right in front of the Amarillo National Center building, and in between the bumper cars and a food vendor.
“At this point, the incident is being investigated by the Texas Rangers, which is standard procedure for us,” Sheriff Thomas said at the scene after the shooting. “We will always have another agency that will investigate all of our officer involved shootings.”
When she got the call about the shooting, Tanner said she was upset, but not surprised.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen in your hometown. You read it, you see it on the news, you read it in the paper. And you think that’ll never happen here. But it is. It’s happening almost every weekend. There’s a shooting in Amarillo almost every weekend now.”
She continued, “Our world is a little bit different these days, so it didn’t really shock me. But when I found out it was one of our two of our guys that got shot, it alerted me immediately,” Tanner added, noting the fair reopened Tuesday at 4 p.m. “I hope that they have some way of checking people that come in now to see if they are carrying a weapon. There’s got to be a way we can keep this from happening again.”
According to Brady Ragland, the CEO of the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo, they are adding more security measures for the remainder of the fair.
“We’re going to beef up the security presence at the gates and around the grounds. We’re also going to implement a wanding procedure at each of our entrance gates so, fairgoers please be patient as you’re coming into the gates,” Ragland said on Tuesday. “But we feel like that’s necessary this time and then of course, as you guys all know, this was the year that we implemented a clear bag policy. So obviously, that will still remain in place.”