A 43-year-old man shot by a sheriff's deputy during a brief standoff Tuesday got access to a gun in a family member's house, where two people had fled from him before law enforcement arrived, officials said.
Robert Jesse Smith, of Axtell, was shot in the side by a McLennan County Sheriff's Office sniper outside the family member's home near Leroy. Smith was taken by ambulance to a Waco hospital, where he remained Wednesday, listed in critical condition.
Smith has three felony convictions, and officials have received reports about his alleged violent behavior in recent weeks, McLennan County Sheriff's Office Capt. Steve January said Wednesday.
"Smith has a history of violent tendencies and behavior in and around the Axtell area in the last six weeks," January said. "We are investigating additional reports involving Smith and looking into any options to file charges."
He declined to offer details of the recent reports since officials are still investigating.
Deputies were called to the home in a rural area near Gerald Lane and Leroy Parkway shortly before 11:30 a.m. Two women and a man were in the house with Smith, and he had reportedly fired shots from a firearm he found there before officers arrived, January said. It is unclear how many weapons Smith had access to in the home.
No one in the home with Smith was injured, and the two women were able to get outside and hide behind a shed until officers arrived. Officers took them to a nearby church unharmed.
The other man remained in the home while Smith went outside, still armed, and spoke with a negotiator, January said. While Smith was outside talking with the negotiator, SWAT officers surrounded the house, then went inside to clear it and pull the other man out, he said. The other man was unharmed.
Authorities later fired projectile bean bags at Smith in an attempt to resolve the situation without the use of deadly force, January said. After Smith was hit by the bean bags, he turned and tried to pull a revolver from his waistband, January said.
"We tried every way possible to avoid using deadly force, but unfortunately we do not have the luxury of waiting a few more seconds," he said.
Authorities said Smith continued to fight with officers while being transported to the hospital after he was shot.
Chief Deputy David Kilcrease said Child Protective Services had recently removed children from Smith's care, and Smith may have been distraught over the custody arrangement before the incident Tuesday.
According to criminal history records, Smith has a state jail felony burglary conviction out of Brown County in 1994, a state jail felony burglary conviction out of Brown County in 2003 and a third-degree felony family-violence assault conviction out of McLennan County in 2011.
He also has several misdemeanor convictions, from Hays County, Kimble County or Tom Green County, between 1992 and 2005, criminal records state.
Smith has served a five-year sentence for family-violence assault in McLennan County and an eight-month sentence for theft in Brown County. He was released from custody with mandatory supervision in March 2014 and was released from supervision in April 2016.
Authorities said it is illegal for Smith to carry or possess any firearms since he is a felon. Officers got a third-degree felony warrant after the shooting Tuesday evening charging Smith with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Other charges may be added.
"We are potentially looking at potential charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer and aggravated family violence assault in reference to the disturbance prior to officers' arrival," January said. "We are very lucky no one else was hurt and lucky none of our officers were hurt too."
The deputy involved in the shooting remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, per law enforcement protocol.