The Port Arthur News
An Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy is listed in stable condition after he was shot twice after a struggle with a juvenile outside the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Detention Center Thursday morning.
Deputy Fred Ashworth underwent surgery at Christus Hospital-St. Elizabeth in Beaumont to remove one of two bullets that struck him in the upper chest area, Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods said. Ashworth may have a second surgery at a later date to remove the second bullet.
The 16-year-old juvenile is in custody at the detention center.
“The outlook for him (Ashworth) is very good,” Woods said. “We are very fortunate considering the circumstances.”
The teen, who had been housed at the center, was returning from a hearing in Orange County shortly after 10 a.m. Jan. 26 when the incident occurred, Woods said during a brief press conference outside the facility shortly after the shooting. The deputy and juvenile were at the “sally port” and outside the deputy’s vehicle when a struggle ensued.
“The juvenile somehow got hold of the deputy’s weapon and fired a shot, wounding the deputy,” Woods said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the deputy and his family.”
Behind Woods, crime scene tape marked off the entrance to the law enforcement gate and officers from Jefferson and Orange counties, as well as Port Arthur, Beaumont, Groves and the Texas Rangers, gathered near the gated side of the facility. A second crowd of law enforcement officials were grouped on the side of the building near a set of doors.
Woods explained during a subsequent phone interview that the teen was confined inside the sally port area within the facility with no way to get out. Entry and exit are controlled by personnel at the detention center.
“An entry team of officers was preparing to make entry to the sally port area when the juvenile put the handgun down and surrendered,” he said.
Deputy Rod Carroll, spokesperson with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, said the teen was taken into custody without further incident.
Tactical paramedics with the Sheriff’s Office and Beaumont EMS treated the officer on-scene, Carroll said.
Woods said the Sheriff’s Office is extremely elated the officer will recover and added that the large response from other law enforcement agencies was appreciated.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigators in the incident and are receiving assistance from other agencies including Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Beaumont Police Department.
The teen could face attempted capital murder charges, Woods said.