By Jen Kastner
BIG LAKE- Big Lake is a tiny rural community where everybody seems to know everybody else. Residents thought a murder and a standoff would only happen worlds away. Never did they imagine it happening in one of their own backyards.
Through Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, flashing lights, rifles and bulletproof vests took over the quiet town.
Residents still cannot believe it. Thomas Thompson says, "I'm from Dallas and I'm used to hearing sirens and seeing this everyday. But this shouldn't happen in Big Lake."
Resident Renea Sudolcan is shocked. "Small communities are usually very safe and very low key," she said.
Cynthia Aguilar says, "I was actually born here and I have never seen anything like this."
The area where the shootings took place has since gotten quieter, but yellow crime scene tape still surrounds the property where Reagan County Sheriff's Office Deputy Josh Mitchell was killed. Officials continue to investigate.
Sudolcan lives right down the street from the scene of the crime.
"There were officers after officers after officers that came down the road [last night] so I knew that something serious was happening. I just didn't know what."
When she later discovered the details of the tragedy, her heart sank.
Thompson believes the act was senseless.
"Who knows what lurks in a man's mind. I don't know. I don't understand it," Thompson said.
Aguilar went to work today, but it was difficult.
"I had an empty feeling. Everybody had the same reaction," Aguilar said.
The dozens of residents NewsWest 9 spoke to are all experiencing the same stunned feeling. They say this small community will take years to heal.