Gruesome details are released following Sunday’s early morning fatal shootout where a retired marine shot and killed a man and critically injured his ex-wife.
James McDonald was in his 40s and as a retired marine, Cache Police believe he may have suffered from PTSD. During the nearly three hour standoff with law enforcement, investigators said McDonald used his military training to try and take out as many officers as possible.
“A lot of the officers and deputies there were previous military and they all compared it to a war zone,” Cache Police Officer David Castro said.
It started when police were called to a home on Highway 155 and Oak Street, Castro said officers encountered two children.
“He had blood all over him,” Castro said. “They went inside to see what happened. There’s where they observed a male, a white male face down in the hallway with three gunshot wounds to the back and to the back of the head.”
The man on the ground was Roger Cole, a Good Year Plant employee, who recently started dating McDonald’s ex-wife Mary Stone, who was shot in the mouth and hand.
“She wasn’t able to say anything, so all of the information we had to get were from the kids. There was an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old and they told officers that it was James McDonald that was responsible,” Castro said.
After the homicide, police believe McDonald awaited officers at his home, on Rock Creek, for an ambush.
During a gunfire exchange, one of McDonald’s bullets struck Comanche County Deputy William Perry.
“James McDonald was a former Marine, which is used his training to his benefit. He was on the second story and would pop up from window to window moving back and forth. He was also wearing camo,” Castro said.
During the three-hour fire-fight, Comanche County Sheriff’s Office and the Cache Police Department had snipers in position.
“At one time the suspect began to throw what are known as pyros,” Castro said. “They are like a training aid that the military uses for like grenades
they won’t blow limbs off, but they can blow fingers off and ears off and things like that.”
At 3 a.m., in pitch black, Castro said more than 100 rounds were exchanged. Then the house caught on fire and it’s unclear whether McDonald himself started the fire.
“He ran into his truck that was parked in the driveway and once in the truck the snipers had a very good view of him and that’s when they were able to take him out,” Castro said.
“We needed to do this. We couldn’t let the individual leave,” Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley said. “He’d taken another person’s life. He had shot the place up and set the place on fire, shot a deputy. We had to do what we needed to do. If he had gotten away we could have had a hostage situation. He could have killed other people. I made a decision that we needed to take him out.”
Now investigators are looking into a motive.
“The rumors is that he had told his ex, Mrs. Stone, that if he ever left him that he would kill her and then burn down the house,” Castro said.
For now, Castro said Comanche County law enforcement want to ensure citizens that they are safe in Cache.
“This is a deal that will probably change all of our lives. When you take somebody’s life it changes your life and when you have an officer that has been shot. So this will be a process. It will take time,” Stradley said.
Officer Castro said the goal now is to ensure residents that Cache is still a safe place to live. Castro said regardless of if PTSD is related in this case, citizens know that there are resources available to help if they are struggling in any way.