Sherman Police said investigators were still working Thursday to determine who was responsible for firing rounds that led two of the department’s officers to seek cover and call for backup as they trained at a South Sherman gun range Wednesday afternoon.
The incident occurred in the 2400 block of South East Street as two officers, described as snipers on the department’s Special Response Team, were practicing on the range. SPD Sgt. D.M. Hampton said the two officers sought cover after rounds traveled over their heads. Neither officer was injured and it was unclear how many shots were fired.
“Where the shots were coming from was not part of the range,” Hampton said. “The range is only open to law enforcement officers. So these rounds were actually coming from a wooded area northeast of their position.”
On Wednesday, Lt. John Kennemer told the Herald Democrat that the two officers did not return fire and that as backup officers arrived on the scene, they reported hearing what sounded like someone running through the wooded area.
The Texas Department of Public Safety dispatched a helicopter to assist in the search for a suspect and the aircraft made low, circular passes over the area. The Sherman Police Department also deployed a canine unit in the hopes of finding a scent trail. The search turned up no suspects and was suspended after roughly one hour so investigators could begin to examine the gun range.
Hampton said as investigators combed the treeline and wooded area where the two officers said the shots came from, they located a live .223 rifle round which appeared to be new. But the Sherman Police sergeant said investigators could not definitively say whether the bullet was used with the weapon fired or if the shots were intended to hit the officers
“That area is known for people going back there to do target practice,” Hampton said of the wooded area. “We don’t have proof that they were actually shooting at our officers but we don’t have roof that they weren’t. And so we don’t know if this could have been a ricochet or if it was that they just didn’t have a backstop.”
Hampton said the department was fortunate that both officers were unharmed and described the investigation as ongoing. He asked that anyone who fired a weapon in the area Wednesday come forward.
“If they read this article, they’re more than welcome to contact the police department and let us know what was going on,” Hampton said. “When rounds get shot at us, we’re assuming that person is shooting at the police. And they can clarify this if they were actually back there just doing target practice.”