A nationwide manhunt for a white supremacist murder suspect ended in death on the morning of Thursday, March 21, in the heart of Wise County.
The story of Evan Ebel, 28, and his subsequent death after engaging Montague and Wise County officers in a rolling gunfight gained national and international attention.
Ebel, a short, stocky man covered in prison tattoos boasting black-inked statements like “Hopeless” and “White Pride,” was a parolee out of Colorado, on the run after apparently shooting and killing Denver pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon on March 17 and Colorado state prisons chief Tom Clements two days later.
The final chapter began when he shot Montague County sheriff’s deputy James Boyd during a routine traffic stop near Bowie. Although Boyd was shot three times – his vest stopped two bullets and the other grazed his head as he fell – he managed to report what had happened to dispatch.
Ebel sped off toward Decatur on U.S. 287 and engaged in a rolling gun battle with state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and Decatur police officers. He hit the windshield of one patrol unit and the front bumper of another, firing at least 20 rounds from a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun.
The chase ended when Ebel’s stolen 1991 Cadillac DeVille smashed into the side of a rock hauler at the intersection of U.S. 380 and U.S. 380 Business West – in front of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and jail. Ebel rolled from the wreckage with gun still blazing, and deputies returned fire. He was pronounced dead the next day as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head.
“He had no regard for human life: his, ours or the public,” said Wise County Sheriff David Walker. “We’re very lucky when he pulled off 287 he didn’t pull into Wal-Mart or somewhere like that and get into a shootout around people. We kind of joke now that he probably didn’t know the Sheriff’s Office was there or he wouldn’t have pulled in there.”
Deputy Boyd made a full recovery and has since returned to law enforcement.
Officials back in Colorado confirmed Ebel was the killer in their two homicides, but questions remain as to what his next move might have been. Components to assemble multiple pipe bombs – including pipes, powder and remote detonators – were found in the back of the stolen car.
“Were those pipe bombs he had meant for somebody in Texas?” Walker asked. “That’s something we might never know.”