Howard Co. Authorities Witness Shooting During Search Warrant

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - It's one of the most confusing and bizarre shootings Howard County Deputies have ever seen. They say a man in his 60's shot and killed himself right in front of them, after they showed up with a drug warrant. Family members, however, aren't buying that story.

An investigation is now underway, and authorities told NewsWest 9 Wednesday they are still sorting through the details.

"Very unusual." That's how Chief Deputy Mark Hall with the Howard County Sheriff's Department described the scene. "I've been here working with the Sheriff's Office several years. This is the first time I've known this to happen."

Deputies said Wednesday's shooting happened near several mobile homes at the corner of Lockhart and 1st streets just before one in the afternoon. They came with a Felony Search Warrant, then, saw a man run from one of the trailers.

"For reasons unknown, it appears the man pulled out a gun and shot himself as deputies were approaching him," Hall explained.

That's where the incident gets weird. Officials weren't even looking to arrest that man. The person they planned to cuff wasn't there.

"That's what makes this thing so confusing for us," Hall said. "The person that is deceased from my understanding doesn't have a criminal record. We did not have a warrant for him."

"They're not going to tell the truth about it, no matter what happens," Carroll Rawls, the brother of the victim, said.

Rawls told NewsWest 9 61-year-old Billy Rawls would never shoot himself.

"He didn't have any reason to," Rawls said. "He didn't have a criminal record, he didn't do drugs, he didn't drink, and he didn't smoke or nothing."

Carroll Rawls and his wife Kay said they are a close-knit family.

"He just passed by our house [Wednesday] morning in his van, and he honked and grinned and waved at me," Kay Rawls said.

"So, we really don't know what happened," Carroll Rawls added. "But I know one thing: my brother would not shoot himself. He didn't have any reason to."

On Wednesday, Authorities were still looking for the bullet that killed Rawls. It's just another piece to a puzzle investigators are trying to put together.