Mexia School District Police Sgt. Scott Neal, 31, died Tuesday afternoon at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco after he was shot during what officials said was a routine training exercise with a gun that was supposed to have been unloaded.
Neal and six Mexia police officers were participating in the SWAT training exercise at the old Mexia fire station when another officer shot Neal just after 12 p.m. Tuesday.
Neal was flown by helicopter to Hillcrest, where he was pronounced dead by McLennan County Justice of the Peace Billy Martin.
Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson described the shooting as tragic and said Mexia had lost one of its finest.
Investigators weren’t sure why the gun, which was supposed to have been checked before the exercise, contained a live round.
Department of Public Safety crime scene investigators were gathering evidence from the scene of the shooting Tuesday afternoon.
Neal had been with the school district for the past three years.
He was married and he and his wife had recently adopted a 4-year-old child.
Neal was the third Limestone County officer killed in the line of the duty in a little more than ten years.
A teenager shot Mexia Police Officer Ricky Ward, 33, to death in 1993.
Limestone County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Davenport, 35, was shot to death in 2002 while serving a warrant in Hamilton County with a multi-agency auto theft task force.
Recent Area Law Enforcement Deaths
08/02/93: Mexia Police Officer Ricky Ward, 33, shot to death by 17 year old who fired on the officer from behind a convenience store. Ward had been dispatched to back other officers on routine shoplifting call just after midnight that day.
07/16/96: Waco Police officer Bill Biles shot in chest and neck while trying to break up domestic dispute at Bosque and University Parks Dr. Kelvin Scott arrested, charged with attempted capital murder.
04/14/98: Mart police officer Scott Harvick became the first Mart officer ever to die in line of duty two days after his patrol unit slammed into a tree in western Limestone County on April 12, 1998.
05/09/01: Senior DPS Trooper Richard Dale Cottle, 51, of Woodway died when his cruiser struck the back of a tractor-trailer rig that had been involved in an accident on the Interstate about 12 miles north of Waco.
02/02/02: Coryell County Deputy Sheriff Larry Dowdy, 55, killed when patrol car hit an 18-wheeleron Highway 84 near Oglesby.
05/02/02: Limestone County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Davenport, 35, shot to death; DPS Trooper David James Jones, 39, based in Mills County, shot in arm; Lampasas county deputy Bob Montgomery, 44, shot in back of head, in Shive, Hamilton County, while working as part of multi agency auto task force. Davenport was shot as a resident was signing consent to search form. The other two were shot later and were pulled to safety. The gunman, Marshall Tilman Tallent, 34, was found dead of what evidently was a self-inflicted gunshot wound the next day.
11/21/03: Temple Police Officer James. G. O’Brien, 38, died when his police motorcycle slammed into the rear of a stopped SUV. He joined the Temple department on Feb. 23, 1996 and had been a traffic unit motor officer since March 3, 1999.