The Month in Review for March, 2018

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, April 7, 2018

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A man who fled the scene of a shooting in Bridgeport on the night of Feb. 28 was captured 24 hours later in Alvord.

The victim of the shooting, 20-year-old Ruben Dunlap of Bridgeport, died around 5:15 p.m. March 1 at Medical City Denton after he was taken off life support.

Johnny Ray Armstrong, 37, of Bridgeport was charged with Dunlap’s murder.

Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford said officers responded to a call about a shooting in the 1500 block of Brush Street around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Emergency personnel from Wise County EMS and Bridgeport Fire Department also responded and found Dunlap with a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken by ground ambulance to the Denton hospital in critical condition.

Officers received information that Armstrong had fled the scene in his Ford Expedition, and Bridgeport Police along with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Public Safety began trying to locate the vehicle.

With the help of a helicopter, Armstrong was located at the Golden Express Truck Stop north of Alvord around 9:30 p.m. March 1. Armstrong appeared “a little agitated at first” and failed to comply with commands, Stanford said, so a Taser was deployed. He was then taken into custody. Medics were called to make sure he wasn’t injured.


In a four-woman race for Precinct 2 justice of the peace, Kim Redman and Callie Manning came out on top in the March 6 Republican primary. They’ll face each other again in the May 22 runoff election. Charles Applewhite of Aurora and Terry Terry of Boyd are the last two standing in the four-man race for Wise County Precinct 3 constable and will go to a runoff. Todd Bailey and Willie Garrett head to runoff for the Precinct 4 justice of the peace spot. Sherry Lemon won her eighth term as county clerk Tuesday in her first contested race since she was elected for the first time in 1990. Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns cruised to an easy victory in the Republican primary.


Five pipe bombs were discovered and detonated March 23 on a 32-acre property off County Road 3585 southwest of Cottondale.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said the bombs appeared to be 20 to 30 years old, judging by the newspapers in which they were wrapped. They were found inside a semi-truck trailer by a couple who bought the acreage a few months ago.

They were cleaning up and clearing junk from the property when the bombs were found.

The previous property owner died in 2012.


A Bridgeport man was killed and his wife was seriously injured in a wreck in a residential neighborhood in Decatur on the morning of March 28.

The crash occurred around 11:30 at the four-way stop sign intersection of Trinity and Hale streets, a few blocks south of the downtown area.

Lt. Gerald Wright with the Decatur Police Department said the wreck involved a Volvo SUV that was westbound on Hale Street and a Toyota passenger car that had just entered the intersection from Trinity Street.

“The driver of the Volvo ran the stop sign and T-boned the Toyota. The Toyota driver died at the scene,” Wright said.

He identified the driver of the Toyota as 74-year-old Billy Wade McRae of Bridgeport. McRae’s wife, Rhonda, was a passenger in the car and was seriously injured in the crash. The 61-year-old was taken by ground ambulance to Medical City Denton (formerly Denton Regional) since a helicopter wasn’t available due to weather.


77 percent of the vote Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns received in the March primary election, winning re-election.

4.839 GPA of Cole Barton, the top-ranked student in Bridgeport’s class of 2018 and the Bulls’ top golfer.

$999,348 grant secured by Bridgeport to build a new fire station.

207.6158 bushels of corn per acre produced by Rick Wilson, which earned him top in Texas in the Class A No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated group

34 games won by the Northwest Texans boys basketball team en route to the 5A final. They lost to Port Arthur.


“There wasn’t any reason to die.”
104-year-old Gola Mae Fleming on why she’s had such a long life.

“She was the last one to sell in her litter because they said, ‘This dog is going to be so bad. She’s going to be selling drugs on the street corner.'”
Mary Swindell on her dog Shiner, who competed at the American Kennel Club Agility Nationals in Reno.

“The seal ties it together in an abstract way – Audra is us, we are Audra. We’re all local. This was a team effort of local skills.”
Boyd City Administrator Greg Arrington on the remodel of the city council chambers and local artist Audra Lambert’s painting of the city seal.

“We’ve got to address (FM) 730, slow it down, increase the capacity of the streets through Brookhollow. I want growth and I want business there. But if an accident happened there because we made this decision, I’d be devastated.”
Decatur City Council Member Cary Bohn, in reference to a proposed daycare at the entrance of the South Martin Branch subdivision.

“All it is is starting over again. It’s no big thing. It’s an adventure, man.”
John Erhdahl after fire destroyed his mobile home on County Road 3855 near Boonsville March 21.

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