Gunfire and death took place at busy intersections in the Killeen-Harker Heights area last week.
The back-to-back shootings took place Monday in Harker Heights and Tuesday in Killeen, and were among the top local stories of the week to be covered in the Herald.
Here is a recap of those stories, and other top stories of the past week:
Teen gunned down at busy intersection
On Monday, a local teenager was fatally gunned down in his car by four gunman who had pulled up next to him at the intersection of Indian Trail and Central Texas Expressay, a busy intersection surrounded by businesses in Harker Heights.
Ty Andre Gentle, 19, of Copperas Cove, was killed in the mafia-like drive-by shooting.
Harker Heights police said the shooting occurred about 2:45 p.m. Monday, and the investigation continues.
“Information gathered on scene was the victim was at the light at Indian Trail and CTE traveling north when a vehicle came up from behind occupied with four males, who started shooting from the back seat,” police said late Monday. “Witnesses said they saw different types of guns used in the shooting. The victim had multiple gunshot wounds and succumb to his injuries.”
Police said Monday they are looking for a silver or gray sedan suspected of being involved in the shooting.
“The department is asking anyone that may have any information about this shooting to contact the Harker Heights Police Criminal Investigations Division at 254-953-5440, or Bell County Crime Stoppers at 254-526-TIPS (8477), and online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com,” Gadd said. “The investigation is ongoing and there is no other information at this time.”
Police have yet to name the make and model of the suspects’ car or a description of the gunmen.
The Herald also spoke to Gentle’s mother last week who said her son was an aspiring rapper, with dreams of moving to California. He had a heart of gold, she said, a smile that could light up a room, and a good sense of humor. Gentle was born in Austin and previously attended Shoemaker High School in Killeen, she said.
Robbery suspect shot while attempting to carjack truck in Killeen
The Killeen Police Department was chasing a suspect’s vehicle Tuesday morning when he crashed his car and evaded police on foot near Rosewood Drive and Central Texas Expressway. The suspect tried to carjack a man, police said, but the man was armed and shot the suspect multiple times.
The suspect was airlifted to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple for life-threatening injuries Tuesday. Killeen police said the suspect is later listed in stable condition.
Killeen police said Tuesday the suspect was wanted for a robbery in Dallas.
When asked about the suspect’s warrant for arrest, KPD spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said that due to the suspect being in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, it is unknown if the warrant was served. She said that is why police are not releasing his name.
Killeen police said that they will release the suspect’s name when they feel it is appropriate.
KISD employee arrested
A Killeen Independent School District employee was arrested for a non-campus related incident, school officials confirmed Tuesday.
In a message to parents, Palo Alto Middle School principal Kernisha Hill said the Killeen Police Department notified the school of an employee’s arrest.
“The employee is being placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation,” Hill said. “This individual will not be allowed on campus or district property while on administrative leave.”
KISD did not reveal the employee’s name or what the person was charged with.
Hill said the charges against the employee do not involve a KISD student, nor did any alleged criminal act occur on a KISD campus.
Cove top educator has contract extended
After being in closed session for more than four hours Thursday afternoon, the Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Joe Burns by another year.
The vote was 6-0 with Trustee Mike Wilburn not present due to a previously planned vacation.
Since Burns’ contract is a five-year term, the board can only extend it by a year at a time when his evaluation comes up. Now, he will be under contract with the district until 2027.
Burns has been with Copperas Cove ISD since 2012. Cove ISD has more 8,000 students and 714 teachers, according to the district.
The school board held the special meeting Thursday afternoon to conduct Burns’ annual evaluation.
Currently, Burns receives an annual salary of $183,340.
Killeen vehicle registration office closed due to COVID-19 cases
On Thursday, Bell County officials announced that the vehicle registration office in Killeen was closed after multiple staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The office, 307 Priest Drive, will remain closed through the end of the week. The offices in Belton, Fort Hood and Temple remain open.
Bell County Tax Assessor-Collector Shay Luedeke made the decision to close the Killeen office after he learned of the positive tests Thursday morning. All the employees with positive tests have been instructed to stay home and recuperate.
“Given the stress that this recent surge has put on our offices, I want to encourage our customers to utilize our mail-in and online resources when possible,” Luedeke said.
All vehicle registration appointments for the Killeen office have been canceled until Monday. Appointments can still be made for either the Belton or Temple offices by visiting the Bell County Tax Assessor-Collector website.
Heights basketball players suspended
The Killeen Independent School District announced Friday afternoon that two athletes on the 13th-ranked Harker Heights boys varsity basketball team have been suspended for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season for their role in an incident that took place toward the end of the game against the Bulldawgs on Tuesday evening in Copperas Cove, according to the district’s spokeswoman Taina Maya.
A total of 11 student-athletes were suspended for Friday’s game against Belton, Maya said.
The incident reportedly occurred with just under five minutes left in the game Tuesday evening. A 30-second video the Herald obtained shows players from both teams leaving the playing area through doors that lead to the locker rooms at Bulldawg Gymnasium.
As of Saturday, Copperas Cove officials have not specified the punishments given to their players that were involved in the incident.
The top 10 most read stories on kdhnews.com from Jan. 16 through Jan. 22 were:
1) Heights police confirm fatal shooting Monday
2) Killeen ISD middle school employee arrested
3) Wintry mix possible in Killeen; wind chills in the teens expected
4) Mother of teen killed in Heights: ‘They took my baby away’
5) Breaking News: Police closing busy Killeen intersection after shooting
6) Harker Heights drive-by shooting victim identified
7) Cove PD, school officials investigating alleged fight at basketball game
8) Killeen trash schedule for holiday
9) Homeless man recounts being shot in Killeen earlier this month
10) Arguments erupt during Killeen council meeting