Hale Center resident Ray Gerhardt was shot three times and he thought he was going to die.
Gerhardt, 51, said he was walking back from a friend's house along the I-27 access road and decided to stop by the Allsup's on Main Street in Hale Center. He said he had been walking for nearly two miles and decided to take a shortcut across a well-lit open lot.
"I heard somebody say, ‘Stop or I'll shoot,' and I looked and I saw this tall slender guy. It looked like he had something in his hands so I started running and sure enough, I got shot twice. Then I don't know if he reloaded or what, but I got shot again as I headed towards the street," Gerhardt said.
Initially, police suspected that Gerhardt had attempted to burglarize the shooter's Hale Center business, but Gerhardt said that was not the case.
"I was not on his property. I was shot in the back. I was no threat to that man so he had no right to do that," he said. "I thought I was going to die. I asked God to forgive me for all my sins. I was short of breath and I was starting to pass out. I didn't know how bad the wounds were. I just knew it was wet whenever I felt the pellets hit me."
Hale Center Police Chief Dennis Burton said officers responded after multiple reports of gunshots on June 9.
When they arrived, they found Gerhardt with gunshot wounds, collapsed in the yard of a nearby residence. He was transferred to Covenant in Plainview with serious injuries.
Burton said police had concluded their investigation, but Gerhardt had not given them an official statement. The case has been handed over to the Hale County District Attorney.
The DA gave Gerhardt the option of testifying in front of a grand jury to finally put the case to rest.
We'll continue to update this story as things progress.
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