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Sheriff: Dental office employee helped in locating Tyler man accused of killing 2 dentists

According to the Smith County Sheriff's Office, Steven Alexander Smith was angry with the clinic staff, went to his pickup truck and returned with a handgun.

TYLER, Texas — An employee at the Tyler dental office taking a photo of the pickup that a Tyler man drove after he allegedly killed two dentists helped investigators locate him and make an arrest. 

Dentists Dr. Blake G. Sinclair, 59, of Tyler and Dr. Jack E. Burroughs, 75, of Tyler, were shot Wednesday afternoon at Affordable Dentures & Implants, located in the 3000 block of Highway 31 East in Tyler. Both later died because of their injuries, according to the Smith County Sheriff's Office.

Steven Alexander Smith, 40, of Tyler, was arrested on charges of capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

In Texas, if a person is found guilty of capital murder, they either face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

An investigation determined Steven Smith was a patient at the clinic. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said Thursday in addition to being accused of shooting the dentists, Steven Smith pointed the gun at a nurse, which is where the assault charge comes from. 

"The nurse that was faced with a gun pointed at her, it's my understanding that she pleaded with him not to shoot her, that she had a baby," Sheriff Smith said.

According to the sheriff's office, Steven Smith was angry with the clinic staff, went to his pickup truck and returned with a handgun that he used to shoot Sinclair and Burroughs working inside the business.

Sheriff Smith said one of the victims was talking in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. He was shocked that this person died but he is unaware of the severity of his internal injuries.

The first deputy on scene gave life-saving aid, and chest compressions for five minutes until medics arrived, Sheriff Smith said. 

"They did everything they could for him but he still didn't make it," Sheriff Smith said. 

The sheriff's office said after the shooting, Steven Smith fled the area heading west on Highway 31 toward the city limits of Tyler. Using a description of the vehicle and plate number, a deputy found Steven Smith pulling into the driveway of his home in the south part of Tyler.  

He retreated into the home, and deputies and Tyler police officers established a perimeter around the house. 

Sheriff Smith said the deputy who arrived at Steven Smith's house so quickly that he saw the suspect get out of his truck and enter the house. The deputy then waited for backup.

Smith County SWAT, Tyler PD SWAT and Smith County negotiators also assisted. After several minutes, Steven Smith's parents came out of the home and he then came out of the residence, the sheriff's office said.

Steven Smith invoked his right to counsel and he would not speak to police about the shooting, Sheriff Smith said.

Through a search of the home, Sheriff Smith said deputies found two pistols, which are both the same caliber as the one used in the shooting. The guns were sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety laboratory to identify the weapon that was used.

He added investigators will be checking for surveillance video in the area and the dental office itself. 

Sheriff Smith said the sheriff's office crime scene unit collected evidence late into the night and returned to the scene Thursday morning.

Steven Smith remains in the Smith County Jail on bonds totaling $3 million, online jail records show.

Christy Burris, who witnessed the altercation, said she was waiting in the lobby to get her bottom plate fitted in her mouth when she heard an argument escalate in the lobby. She said Smith wasn't happy with his fitting. 

"I tried to get to the doctor and in the midst of wanting to run and hide, I turned around and went and hid behind the wall," Burris said. 

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