Latest Smith County trail ride shooting highlights growing problem

Sheriff Larry Smith offers new details on latest trail ride shooting,
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 1:12 PM CDT
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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A scene of exiting vehicles blocking the path for emergency responders and suspects hiding behind a vehicle was described as part of the events following a trail ride shooting Saturday night.

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on the events Monday in which two people were injured and three were arrested.

The sheriff’s office received a call Saturday at 9:40 p.m., regarding fights and two people shot and shots still being fired. The first shooting was reported in the parking lot of Spring Creek Baptist Church, located at 13915 County Road 46.

As the first deputy arrived, dispatch told him there were additional shots fired farther back behind the church and near the cemetery and that another person had been shot.

Due to the large number of people trying to leave the area, deputies had to drive between the cemetery and the church as people blocked the path for the emergency vehicles. Deputies reported 500 or more people were at the trail ride.

One of the people had been shot near a concert stage area and deputies heard four to six gunshots coming from a field to the right of the stage and then another three shots.

Witnesses told deputies where to go to locate where the shots were coming from. As deputies advanced, they reported seeing three men walking from the area and they then tried to hide behind a vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputies gave them commands to drop the guns but they instead threw the guns behind the vehicle, according to the report.

All three men, Israel Allen Ortiz, 27, Sir Ricardel Ortiz, 29, and Jakeithon Marcilous Medlock, 26, all of Tyler, were arrested and charged with deadly conduct and unlawful possession of a firearm. All three have posted $10,000 bonds.

“Everybody that can be charged will be charged, and they might as well get ready for it,” Sheriff Larry Smith said.

Four guns were collected from the scene.

Officers from Texas Parks and Wildlife, Tyler police, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office, Bullard police and DPS responded to the scene.

“We expect more (events like this), and we’d like to know about them before they happen, and we could have responded to this much better and maybe stopped it before it happened,” Smith said.

Smith County Sheriff’s Office details lack of cooperation in trail ride shooting response