FROM A PRESS RELEASE BY CAPT. JOHN R. RAFFIELD, CHEROKEE COUNTY SHERIFF"S OFFICE
As of this time there is no new information on the shooting incident involving the Rusk State Hospital employee that was shot while on his lunch break yesterday (02/26/13).
We are actively pursuing what leads we have from the victim and witnesses that were at Rusk State Hospital when he arrived back at work.
An investigator spoke briefly with him last night at the hospital, but because of the medications being administered, that interview was cut short.
When he is released from the hospital, he has agreed to meet with investigators on the case. At this time this department has no information on when he will be released.
Apparently there have been calls to several news outlets from concerned citizens about the safety of the general public in regards to this shooting.
From all information available to investigators yesterday, last night, and this morning, we believe this was an isolated incident that was directed solely at the victim and not a random attack.
The victim made statements to several people prior to the shooting, that he had been in an altercation with some individuals from another county in the past week, and this shooting was in direct retaliation to that altercation.
Investigators are actively pursing all leads in the case and an update on the investigation will be released as soon as it becomes available.
STAFF and KYTX CBS19 REPORTS
Sheriff James Campbell said Garrett Scott Curtis, 22, of Alto, was at orientation at Rusk State Hospital as a new employee and then left around lunch time.
He said Curtis returned to the state hospital by himself about 12:30 p.m. with a gunshot wound. According to a news release, the wound was “to his shoulder or neck area.”
Rusk police initially responded to the scene and spoke with Curtis, who gave only limited information before Emergency Medical Services arrived, according to a news release.
Curtis was flown by helicopter to Tyler and as of Tuesday afternoon was in the intensive care unit at East Texas Medical Center in stable condition. Campbell said Tuesday that it was unknown who did the shooting, where it occurred or what motive there could have been.
Sheriff's Capt. John Raffield said Tuesday afternoon that an investigator was at the hospital waiting to speak with Curtis.
Rusk State Hospital released a statement after the shooting, which stated:
“We are deeply concerned about our employee following (Tuesday's) off-campus shooting. Our thoughts are with Garrett and his family. We're working with law enforcement and doing everything we can to help each other during this difficult time.”