SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -
The chilling shooting rampage that killed a mother and a man trying to save her life is fresh in people's minds, ten years later.
We were there as David Hernandez Arroyo, Sr. opened fire on the Smith County Courthouse on February 24, 2005. He was after his estranged wife and son who were at the courthouse for a child support hearing. Arroyo's son survived, but Maribel Estrada and Mark Wilson, a civilian trying to stop Arroyo, died at the scene.
"It's hard to believe it's been ten years," says Detective Sherman Dollison with the Smith County Sheriff's Office.
"I found him right about here and started firing at him," says Dollison.
"Bullets were flying right past and they still engaged him in gunfire," says Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham.
"I remember everyone in the courtroom just panicking," says Brett Harrison, a defense attorney who was in the courthouse that day.
David Arroyo Sr. had just killed his estranged wife on the steps leading to the courthouse. He was armed with an AK47 and a bullet proof vest.
"He shot me. I remember getting hit. At that time, I knew I had been hit, but I didn't know where I had been hit," says Dollison.
Arroyo Sr. shot him several more times.
"I just kind of laid down, because at that time I had accepted this was it," Dollison says.
Mark Wilson, a man with a concealed handgun license, picked up his gun and was also trying to help.
"If Mark hadn't had been there, he would have had more time to come into the courthouse," says Dollison.
"That's a man right there that didn't have to do what he did. He's not law enforcement, he doesn't have to get into the fight," says Bingham. "As soon as he shot Mark, he got in his truck and drove off. So, the assault on the back of the courthouse ended after Mark engaged him."
Wilson died a hero. His memorial and the bullet holes all over the courthouse stand as reminders.
"It was a tragic day. People lost their lives, and it needs to be remembered," says Dollison.
"It's not just a reminder of what that killer did, it's also a reminder that law enforcement and Mark Wilson were willing to go out there and confront the evil head on," Bingham says.
Flowers now sit above where one of the fatal shots was taken. They are a soft reminder on this 10-year anniversary.
Detective Sherman Dollison was one of four people injured in the shooting. David Arroyo, Sr. fled the scene, heading out of downtown, going north on Hwy 271, where officers were finally able to shoot and kill him.