AUSTIN (KXAN, KFDX/KJTL) — The Blue Alert sent to Texans’ cell phones late Monday night after 11 p.m. is for a man accused of shooting a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The shooting happened near Wichita Falls.
Investigators are looking for a white man with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a dark flat-billed cap and driving a white four-door Cadillac. The car is believed to be damaged, potentially with a broken rear window and bullet holes.
The sheriff’s office says Deputy Breanton Chitwood attempted to pull the man over around 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Jolly Truck Stop. When Chitwood walked up, he was shot and returned fire, the sheriff’s office said. According to Clay County Sheriff Jeffrey Lyde, Chitwood was shot in his bulletproof vest and is expected to be okay.
Lyde said the license plate number of the vehicle is FXJ-1334, and the plates are stolen.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 award for any information leading to the arrest.
What is a Blue Alert?
The Blue Alert program is used to alert the public about people who are accused of killing or seriously injuring police officers or other members of law enforcement, in an effort to apprehend the suspect as soon as possible, according to Texas DPS.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed an executive order in 2009 to start the program, which includes emergency messages sent to cell phones and other devices with relevant information about the suspect designed to facilitate tips and leads.
The criteria DPS uses to issue the alerts are:
- A law enforcement officer must have been killed or seriously injured by an offender
- The investigating law enforcement agency must determine that the offender poses a serious risk or threat to the public and other law enforcement personnel
- A detailed description of the offender’s vehicle, vehicle tag, or partial tag must be available for broadcast to the public
- The investigating law enforcement agency of jurisdiction must recommend activation of the Blue Alert to the Texas DPS
Emergency alerts can be toggled on and off in your cell phone settings.