Liberty Co. deputy and 3 others shot in Cleveland area; suspect dead

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Pavol Vido (Texas Department of Public Safety)

Police say the suspect wanted in shooting of four people in Liberty County has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police say Pavol Vido, 65, was found in the woods behind a home where he left his getaway car.

Vido was named a suspect it the shooting of four people, including a Liberty County deputy, near Cleveland.

Authorities say around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday a woman was found shot dead at Be Dependable Plumbing on the 24000 block of Hwy 321 in Cleveland.

When two other employees walked in, the gunman shot at them.

Deputy Richard Whitten got behind Vido and followed him to Big Thicket Vet, about a mile away, where they had a shootout.

Deputy Whitten was shot in the neck. Thankfully, he is in stable condition at Memorial Hermann, where he was transported to via Life Flight.

The suspect fled the scene in a white car, and multiple law enforcement agencies spent hours searching for him. The car he was driving was located behind a house before 11 a.m. Law enforcement surrounded the home.

Police later said he shot himself in the woods behind the house.

Tarkington ISD schools were placed on lockdown as authorities searched for the suspect. The district says there have been no threats to schools.

Liberty County Deputy Richard Whitten is in stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center where family, friends and his brothers and sisters in blue have been by his side all day.


"God is good. The deputy should be ok,” explains Patton Village Police Chief Shannon Sharp.

Deputy Whitten was flown by Lifeflight to the Houston hospital with a gunshot wound to his throat. 

"We know it’s a possibility (to be shot) but we never want it to happen to any police officer,” adds Chief Sharp.

The bullet is said to have missed any major arteries in the Liberty County deputy's neck.  Police and deputies from all across the area have been coming by the hospital to check on a fellow officer who suffered the unthinkable. 

"It’s like the worst kind of fear you can feel. That’s one of your brothers or sisters out there. It’s heart-wrenching," Chief Sharp said. 

Deputy Whitten will celebrate his fourth year as a Liberty County Sheriff’s deputy next month. The 51-year-old has been married for 18 years, has two kids and countless members in his law enforcement family. 

"We say same department, different patches. If it affects one, it affects all of us," he said.