(Update 1: Malakoff ISD reaction added.)
(Update 2: Adds name, details from Henderson County Sheriff’s Office press release, correct time MISD learned of incident, rewrites for clarity.)
(Update 3: Adds photo.)
A fugitive who fled from police during the execution of a narcotics search warrant in Tool Wednesday night was in custody Thursday morning, according to county officials.
Billy Fred Wray Jr., 45, of Mabank was arrested Thursday morning and taken to Henderson County Jail where he was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer. Wray also had three other unrelated active assault warrants outstanding.
The warrant was executed around 7 p.m. Wednesday at a residence off County Road 2350, west of Tool. During the search, Wray reportedly swung a machete at officers and fled the scene on foot. Officers chased him, but lost him in the woods. No officers were injured during the initial incident.
Officers from the US Marshals, the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, DPS Air from Garland, Texas DPS, and the TDCJ dog teams joined in the search Wednesday night, and continued searching into the early morning hours Thursday.
According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office: “At approximately 6:43 a.m. (Thursday), an observant citizen contacted the Sheriff’s Office and notified us that they observed a man coming out of the wood line on SH 274 near the search location in Tool. HCSO Sgt. Thomas Goodell located Wray walking near SH 274 and made contact with him. Goodell was assisted by officers from Tool and Seven Points police departments and was able to take Wray into custody. Wray was still armed with the knife at the time of his arrest. Wray suffered only minor scratches throughout the incident.”
The initial narcotics warrant was issued by Justice of the Peace Pct. 6 Milton Adams. Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigators Kay Langford, David Faught, and Wick Gabbard, along with Sheriff Ray Nutt, Major Bottie Hillhouse, Captain Bryan Tower, Lt. Kalon Rollins, and Investigator Billy Jack Valentine executed the search warrant.
The search turned up a quantity of methamphetamine, suspected anhydrous ammonia, digital scales, baggies, and apparatus used in and remnants of the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
Donald “Rusty” Arthur Russell Jr. was arrested at the scene and charged with Manufacture of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 1 > 1 gram < 4 grams and an outstanding warrant for Motion to Revoke Probation on a prior Possession of Controlled substance charge. No bonds have been set as of Thursday morning.
All others at the scene were identified and released.
Malakoff ISD learned of the incident
Wednesday Thursday morning after students started arriving but before the fugitive was caught. Superintendent Randy Perry said as a precaution the district initiated a yellow lockdown, which means students can move around inside the school, but the doors are locked and nobody can go outside. Wray was captured shortly afterward.