Man Shot By Local Police Officer Dies

The shooting occurred after a traffic stop on Dec. 23. (File)

TEMPLE (December 31, 2011)-- Terry Ray Cox, 20, of Temple, who was shot and seriously injured as he attempted to speed off after a traffic stop, dragging a veteran Temple police officer whose armed was pinned in his SUV, died just after 6 a.m. Saturday at Scott & White Hospital, police said.

His body will be sent to Dallas for an autopsy, police said.

The Texas Rangers are heading up an investigation of the shooting and their findings will be presented to a Bell County Grand Jury.

Temple Police Chief Gary Smith, in a statement released Saturday, said it’s understandable “that citizen concerns are heightened” when an officer uses deadly force.

“I want to assure everyone that these situations are fully investigated and reviewed, both within the Temple Police Department, and by an outside agency, Smith said.

“While the officer involved in this incident is receiving our full support as he recovers from his injuries, I am mindful that Mr. Cox’s family is mourning his passing. They are in my prayers, as are all involved in this event,” he said.

The officer who shot Cox, Sgt. Gary E. Smith, an 11-year police veteran, was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve, a day after he was admitted with injuries to his legs and arms.

Smith pulled the over the SUV that Cox was driving late in the morning on Dec. 23 in the area of North 4th and Central Avenue and then called for backup when he became suspicious, police said.

The officer ordered Cox to get out of the vehicle, but instead the driver, who had the two adults and the toddler riding with him, pinned the officer’s arm in the window of the SUV and accelerated in an attempt to escape, dragging the officer for 50 to 60 yards, police said.

Smith then fired at least one shot at the Cox, police said.

The SUV, which was traveling at a high rate of speed, swerved off Central Avenue onto North 6th Street, struck a building and a utility trailer, at which point the officer fell to the concrete.

The SUV came to rest against the side of a large unoccupied pickup truck, police said.

Smith, Cox and the two adults and a toddler who were in the SUV were taken to local hospitals.

Once Smith has completed medical leave, he’ll be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation of the shooting, police said.