BELTON (June 21, 2013)-A Bell County man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison after he was found guilty Thursday of shooting an off-duty Rogers police officer.
A 264th District Court jury deliberated about two hours before returning the sentence for Richard J. Breuer, 42, in the 2012 shooting of off-duty Rogers police Officer Jimmy Smitherman, Bell County Assistant District Attorney Shelly Strimple said.
Strimple said the jury also deliberated about two hours before finding Breuer guilty earlier in the day.
Smitherman, 38, was shot in the chest April 6, 2012 at a residence in the 19700 block of Farm-to-Market 485 in Zabcikville.
Breuer also was wounded.
Smitherman was shot after he went with Machele Breuer to collect belongings from the house where she used to live with Richard Breuer, her estranged husband.
Machele Breuer told authorities Breuer had told her he was out of town, but when she entered the home she said he attacked her, grabbing her by the hair, dragging her into the living room and threatening to kill her, the sheriff's office said.
The officer, who was waiting in the truck, heard her screams, approached the front door of the house, identified himself as a police officer and ordered the man, who was armed with a pistol, to drop his gun.
The man then opened fire, shooting repeatedly at the officer, who was struck at least once in the chest, authorities said.
The officer fell to the ground in the front yard of the home, but the man continued to approach him with the gun pointed at him authorities said.
At that point, authorities said, the officer fired, striking the gunman.
The woman helped the wounded officer into the truck and as she began to drive off, the gunman opened fire on the pickup, authorities said.
Investigators later found a bullet hole in the windshield of the truck, but neither the woman nor the officer was struck by the shots fired as they fled.
Bell County Sheriff's Deputy James Lewing said the woman drove to the side of the road across from Green's Sausage House where an ambulance was parked, evidently while the crew was eating and called for help.