Palestine, TX – Investigators have determined the gun used to murder Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Chad Walker in 2021 was also used in the murder of a Palestine city employee days earlier.
Dustin Rodgers, 28, was with his wife and two children in their Ford F-150 the area of Magnolia Street and Spring Street at approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 20, 2021, when a gunman inside another vehicle traveling along Spring Street opened fire on them, KETK reported.
Rodgers was shot in the torso during the attack and his six-year-old son, who was riding in the backseat, was shot in the foot, according to police.
Rodgers’ wife and daughter were not injured, KLTV reported.
The wounded victims were rushed to a local hospital, where Rodgers died of his injuries.
The six-year-old boy was treated and released to recover at home.
The gunman escaped prior to officers’ arrival.
Less than a week later, on March 26, 2021, 38-year-old Trooper Walker was out on patrol in Limestone County when he stopped to help a stranded motorist on FM Road 2848 and U.S. Highway 84, KBTX reported at the time.
“Before Trooper Walker could stop his patrol unit [the suspect] immediately emerged from the driver’s seat of the disabled vehicle armed with a handgun and fired multiple rounds at Trooper Walker through the patrol unit’s windshield,” the Texas DPS Officers Association said in a statement, KHOU reported.
The suspect then fled into the woods, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The wounded trooper was airlifted to Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Waco in critical condition with gunshot wounds to his abdomen and head, KHOU reported.
He succumbed to his injuries five days later, leaving behind his wife, his 15-year-old son, his 7-year-old twin daughters, and his two-month-old daughter.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Trooper Chad Walker as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety. #RIP @TxDPS pic.twitter.com/nmCwUNZvwF
— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) April 1, 2021
Trooper Walker devoted 18 years of his life to his law enforcement career, the last six of which he spent serving the DPS, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Authorities quickly identified the gunman and launched a manhunt.
Law enforcement issued a Blue Alert for 36-year-old DeArthur Pinson, Jr. on the morning of March 27, 2021.
DeArthur Pinson Jr. DOB 7/15/84 is currently wanted in connection to a shooting of a Texas DPS Trooper near Mexia, Texas.
Pinson is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. Contact 911 immediately with any information on his whereabouts. pic.twitter.com/RQ3HbRTrmN
— TxDPS – Central Texas Region (@TxDPSCentral) March 27, 2021
Police said Pinson took a black backpack out of his vehicle and took off into the woods after he shot Trooper Walker, KTRK reported.
He was on the loose in the woods for several hours and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies used helicopters and dogs to search for the armed suspect.
Deputies found Pinson dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Mexia later the same day, KHOU reported.
Pinson was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for armed robbery in Houston County, the Palestine Herald reported in 2007.
He was also arrested by the Palestine Police Department for military desertion in 2003 while he was serving in the U.S. Army.
Palestine Police Chief Mark Harcrow announced on March 22 that ballistic testing confirmed the gun used to murder Trooper Walker was the same weapon used to murder Rodgers, KLTV reported.
The motive in Rodgers’ shooting remain unknown, according to police.
“Dustin Rodgers was a wonderful and amazing brother, husband, son, a father,” his sister, Celsey Lively, told KETK shortly after his death. “He was incredible. He was a man of power and when I say power, he would do anything and everything for anyone, doesn’t matter who you were.”