Bastrop County, Texas Sheriff Terry Pickering has come forward acknowledging that the records of Deputy Daniel Willis were altered after he shot and killed Yvette Smith on February 16.
Pickering reported this week that administrators went back and pulled up Willis’ records prior to sending them off to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are investigating Willis’ shooting of Smith.
A number of Willis’ records were allegedly missing supervisor signatures. Pickering says administrators sent his records off to supervisors so that they could be properly signed before being sent to the Rangers.
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“When it came to my attention, I immediately notified the district attorney and the Texas Rangers,” Pickering said. “We took the training records and released them to the Rangers. Supervisors tried to get this cleaned up without letting anyone know. We have not found anything other than what they told us had occurred.”
The Sheriff’s Office identified seven people involved with the record tampering. Lt. Joey Dzienowski was demoted to patrol duty and given a 240-hour suspension for his actions. Sgt. David Repka was relegated to patrol duty as well and handed a 32-hour suspension. The other five workers involved are awaiting disciplinary announcements.
Sheriff Pickering’s announcement marks the second mistake his office has admitted to in the wake of the Yvette Smith shooting. The office initially claimed Smith was armed when Willis shot and killed her on February 16. The office later retracted that claim, saying it is unclear whether she was armed. Multiple witnesses have come forward saying she was not carrying a firearm when Willis killed her. Click here for more from Opposing Views on this story.
Pickering confirmed on Monday that Willis killed Smith using a SR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Willis remains on paid administrative leave while officials investigate the shooting.