Neighbors surprised by shooting death, murder investigation - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Neighbors surprised by shooting death, murder investigation

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Rodney Earl Walker - former mug shot (Courtesy: Smith County Sheriff's Department) Rodney Earl Walker - former mug shot (Courtesy: Smith County Sheriff's Department)
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TYLER (KYTX) - One Tyler man is dead and the person police believe shot him is hospitalized in critical condition.

Police and neighbors say the two men lived together in the 300 block of East First Street.

There is no word yet on what chain of events led to the death of 52-year-old Rodney Walker. Police got to the home at about 3:00 Monday morning on a welfare check. When they got inside, they found walker's body.

"They knew all the neighbors and got along well with them. They were just good guys," says Jim Hayden, who lives right across the street. He can't believe that friendly couple has prompted a murder investigation.

"I got up this morning around 3:15 and I'd noticed flashing lights from our bathroom and heard a loud knock on the door from the house across the street and when I looked over there I saw about five police cars and more down the street," Hayden says. 

Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Don Martin says, "Officers made entry to check on that person and did find a deceased person in there."

It was 52-year-old Rodney Walker.

"He had been shot, and the suspect we believe is involved in this apparently had tried to take his life as a result of what had happened. He is in the hospital right now and is in critical condition," Officer Martin says.

Police confirm that suspect tried to overdose on pills after the alleged shooting.

"You don't expect something like that to happen, especially with someone you're friends with!" Hayden says. He said he and his wife were pretty close with the suspect.

"He watered my plants, took care of my cats, he was just a big help to us. Friendly, friendly guy. Rodney his partner wasn't as outgoing but seemed like a fine guy to me!" Hayden says.

However, it's not the couple's first brush with violence.  Rodney Walker was arrested back in 2011 for domestic violence. Police confirm the violence was against his partner, the man now suspected of shooting him. 

Neighbors say the men have for lived in the First Street home for the past 6 to 8 months.  

Police have not filed any charges yet they are waiting to finish their investigation, to see if anything like self defense played a role. They also are waiting to talk to the suspect, who is still in critical condition.

Police say they are withholding the suspect's name while he is still hospitalized.

Walker's body is being sent to Southwest Institute of Forensics in Dallas for an autopsy. 

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