Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 21, 2011

Manhunt ends near Tool

Knife-wielding Mabank man caught after multi-agency pursuit

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Tool — A 45-year-old Mabank man who allegedly threatened officers with a large knife during a narcotics search, was arrested Thursday morning near Tool, following a multiple agency manhunt, Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said.

Billy Fred Wray was booked into the Henderson County Detention Center for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. He was also held on three outstanding warrants for assault.

HCSO reports said Wray swung the weapon at officers who contacted him during the search, then fled from the location. No officers were injured in the confrontation. Officers gave chase, but lost him in the woods. He was located the next morning near the search scene and taken into custody.

Narcotics Investigator Kay Langford obtained the search warrant from Justice of the Peace Milton Adams, reports said, as a result of a lengthy investigation into the manufacture and delivery of methamphetamines at a residence off County Road 2450.

At about 7 p.m., Wednesday, Langford, along with investigators and command staff from the sheriff’s office, arrived at the residence to serve the warrant.

Officers found several people on the premises, reports said. One of those present was Wray. When officers made contact with him he “brandished a large machete type knife” and ran from the location.

With Wray loose in the area, HCSO was joined by several law enforcement entities. Nutt said all surrounding local agencies took part in the hunt, as well as the U. S. Marshals Service,officers from the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, the Garland Office of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Dog Teams.

At about 6:43 a.m., Thursday, an observant citizen saw a man coming out of the woods alone on State Highway 274, not far from the initial search. Sgt. Thomas Goodell made contact with Wray. Goodell was assisted by officers from the Tool and Seven Points Police Departments in taking Wray into custody.

Nutt said Wray was still armed with the knife at the time of his arrest. Wray sustained only minor scratches during his time at flight and the arrest.

The narcotics search revealed a quantity of methamphetamine, a substance suspected to by anhydrous ammonia, digital scales, baggies, and apparatus used in meth amphetamine manufacture. Officers also discovered some remnants that appeared to have been left over from the manufacture of the substance, reports said.

HCSO officers arrested Donald “Rusty” Arthur Russell at the residence for manufacture of a controlled substance (1 gram to 4 grams) and a motion to revoke probation on a prior possession of a controlled substance charge. Others present at the residence at the time of the search were released at the scene.