The 26-year-old man who was shot in the head and found Sunday afternoon on the side of the road near Overton has died.
Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith confirmed to the Tyler Morning Telegraph that LaDarius Bell, of Tyler, died.
He was in critical condition at UT Health in Tyler just after noon Monday, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
Deputies were dispatched around 2:30 p.m. Sunday to a deadly conduct call in the 17700 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2089 near Overton.
Upon arrival, deputies found a man suffering from what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head. He was airlifted to UT Health Tyler, where he was listed in critical condition Sunday night. Initial information suggests the victim was dragged out of the vehicle and left on the side of the road, the sheriff’s office said.
Sherri Hague of Tyler, a longtime friend of Bell, wonders what was going through his mind as he was in the vehicle and shot.
“How do you shoot him and then leave him like he’s nothing? That is terrible. I can only imagine what was going through his mind when that was going on,” Hague said. “He didn’t deserve this, he was very much a family person.”
Hague said Bell has three children and lived with his mom in Tyler.
“He was great, he was great with his kids, he loved them so much,” Hague said. “I’ve never heard him raise his voice or get violent. Never yelled at his kids or his kids’ mother.”
One thing Bell was known for was his sense of humor and making people laugh.
“He was goofy, funny, always making jokes,” Hague said. “When I first met him, he was always goofing and playing around. I said, ‘I don’t like you!’ He made it a point to make me like him, he was always positive, always posted positive things on my posts. Then I worked with him and gave him rides home and he was always a good person.”
Hague said while Bell had just gotten out of jail, she said he never did anything “major” when it came to drugs.
“Sure he did a few things wrong on the street, but he didn’t deserve this ... Those poor kids aren’t going to have their dad anymore,” Hague said. “We knew he had sold some marijuana but nothing major. It was never anything that should have ended in anything like this ... How does this happen?”
Smith County Sheriff’s Office investigators, working with the Longview Police Department, learned that the shooting happened in Longview. Officials also learned the identities of two individuals who were in the vehicle when Bell was left on the side of the road, according to the release.
In a statement on Facebook, the Longview police said officers were dispatched to a robbery at 1:52 p.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of East Fairmont Street. At first the robbery victim told officers, three people came to his home and when the door opened they robbed him.
The victim then shot several rounds from a handgun towards the suspects, possibly hitting the car they were in, according to Longview police.
Police later received information that the car involved in the robbery and the suspects were involved in an incident in Overton. Upon further investigation, officers determined Bell, who was one of the car occupants, was struck by gunfire, according to the Facebook post.
Smith County sent an all-points bulletin with the suspect vehicle description. The suspects' vehicle was described as a blue mid- to compact-size four-door sedan, which was last seen headed north on FM 2089. The vehicle was stopped by a Forney Police Department officer, which led to a male subject being taken into custody, according to the sheriff's office.
Later, Smith County investigators and Longview police detectives found the second suspect, a woman, at a hotel in Dallas, the release stated.
Information related to the investigation is being turned over to detectives with the Longview Police Department, since the offense occurred within that department's jurisdiction, according to the sheriff's office.
The Longview Police Department added that this situation is an on-going investigation and more information could be given as the investigation continues.
John Anderson contributed to this report