Published June 12, 2014
By Matthew Girard, Associate Editor
Law enforcement officials know that any time a traffic stop is made or they are called out to a situation, the potential for danger is always there.
On the evening of June 4, Belton Police officers were immediately aware of the danger as three officers responded to a call involving a shooting and that the shooter was on the scene in the 2800 block of 2410 Spur.
Three officers arrived on the scene at 9:13 p.m. and immediately encountered a man holding a gun. The suspect, Karl Lee Wiggins, 61, Killeen, failed to follow the commands of the offers to drop the gun and turned toward the officers. Out of fear for their safety, the officers shot the suspect.
After the scene was secured, officers located another subject, Edward Charles, 41, Belton, who had also been shot.
According to Police, the two men knew each other and were involved in a disturbance prior to the first shooting.
None of the officers responding to the shooting were injured, but were placed on administrative leave, which is standard law enforcement practice for shootings involving an officer.
Chief Gene Ellis said the department will take the necessary steps to investigate the shooting and to give any support needed by the officers involved.
“Any time there is an officer involved in a shooting, there is a criminal investigation, the administrative investigation and then the peer support for the officers,” Ellis said. “It is a very traumatic situation to go through.”
Wiggins was shot multiple times after he pointed a small-caliber handgun he was holding in the direction of the officers.
Both of the injured men were transported from the scene to Scott & White Hospital.
Ellis said the officers knew the dangers they might face, but were prepared for the situation.
“It’s probably one of the most intense situations an officer can be dispatched to,” Ellis said. “They face danger on most calls, but to be going to something where a gun has already been shot they know the likelihood of eminent danger is there.”
The Bell County District Attorney’s office, Bell County Sheriff’s office and the Texas Rangers are assisting in the investigation. It is also standard practice for the Texas Rangers to investigate shootings that involve officers.
On June 6, Bell County Sheriff investigators presented a case to the Bell County District Attorney, charging Wiggins with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Bond was set at $100,000 and Wiggins remains in custody at Scott & White in Temple.
Ellis said an incident such as this effects everyone in the community.
“The community knows the officers and we’ve received many well wishes from the community,” Ellis said. “Their prayers have been expressed and we’ve had great community support.”