CLEVELAND, Texas — The Liberty County deputy shot in Cleveland Wednesday may have saved other lives before he was wounded.
Deputy Richard Whitten was one of four victims shot by 65-year-old Pavol Vido, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. One woman died. Whitten and two men survived and were rushed to area hospitals.
Vido shot himself after deputies found him hiding under a boat not far from the shooting scene, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Whitten followed Vido to a nearby veterinarian clinic after the shooting at a plumbing company on 321.
Lisa Bettilyon heard all the commotion and ran out the back door of the clinic.
“He (Vido) was standing there, pointing the gun towards the cop,” Bettilyon said. “He was just determined. He had a gun pointed straight at them. He was set to hurt somebody, absolutely."
Bettilyon said she ran back inside the clinic and told her three employees to hide.
“Very scary. Very, very scar," she said.
The Liberty County Sheriff's Office said Vido shot Whitten before he sped away in a 2004 white Mercury Marquis.
The car was later found.
Bettilyon said she knows Deputy Whitten.
“It's very sad because we actually know him. He comes in the clinic and brings his little stray kitty. Very sweet gentleman," she said.
Bettilyon is grateful he stopped Vido from possibly coming into the vet clinic. Bettilyon said she’s praying for the deputy and the other victims.
He has been with the sheriff's office for about four years. We're told he is talking as he continues to recover.
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