Former sheriff's deputy killed in shoot out

The Wichita County Sheriff's Department says a former deputy was killed following a shoot out with members of the same department he used to work for.  It happend just outside of Burkburnett on Schmoker Road after authorities say the former deputy, Scott Helenschmidt, called the sheriff's department dispatch and told them he was armed and holding someone hostage inside his mobile home.

A short time later, deputies say Helenschmidt fired several shots at them before an officer returned fire and killed him.  The Texas Rangers are investigating the case, but so far few details have been released as to what motivated Helenschmidt.

His neighbo, Tony Joplin, tells 7News, "I came out on my porch and a couple of guys dressed in black with M-16's were in my front yard." Joplin says a member of the Sheriff's Special Response Unit told him and his family to turn their lights out and go to the back of their home.  But, he says they wouldn't tell him why. Then his phone started ringing from concerned friends.  "They had heard on the scanner that there a guy waving a gun around on Schmoker Road." said Joplin.

The Sheriff's Department won't confirm that. A spokesman says they responded to Helenschmidt's home after his call to dispatch informing them he was armed and holding someone hostage.  "We attempted numerous times to establish some meaningful communication with him to no avail," said Lt. Derek Meador from the Wichita County Sheriff's Department.  Deputies say bullets started to fly at them, so they fired back once. That bullet proved to be deadly for Helenschmidt. Fortunately, Lt. Meador says a hostage was not found in the home.

So far, the Sheriff's Department has not named the deputy who shot Helenschmidt.  However, they do say that several people on the department used to work with him.  "Any situation like this, regardless of who the players are, has an outcome like this, it's not a good thing," said Meador.  He says Helenschmidt left the department in 1996, but wouldn't, however, say if it was on good or bad terms or whether they'd had problems with him prior to the shootout.  The Texas Rangers continue to investigate.