Rusk County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to a report of gunshots in the early morning hours of Sunday, February 21, 2021. 

Upon arrival at a residence on the 10700 block of Main Street in New London, deputies located three gunshot victims within the home. 

According to the preliminary investigation, an armed male entered the residence without consent, waking the homeowner. A verbal dispute ensued which turned to shots being fired by both parties. 

Several rounds were exchanged which concluded in injuries to all three parties with both males being struck by multiple bullets and the female being struck as well. 

The two males involved were transported by helicopter to Tyler while the female was transported via ambulance to Tyler. 

The male that entered the residence succumbed to his wounds and has been identified as Blade Gillispie of Henderson. The other male victim is still hospitalized in Tyler with surgeries pending and has been identified as Brady Vermeer of New London. The female victim, identified as Destiny Lawrence has been released from the hospital. 

The District Attorney’s office has been notified and they will assist in presenting the case to the Grand Jury. 

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release, which included no names as notifications to family members were still pending, on the morning of Thursday, February 25, which led to citizen speculation that information had been withheld due to a familial connection between one of the involved individuals and a member of the RCSO. Countering this notion Rusk County Sheriff, John Wayne Valdez said, “The entire county was overwhelmed with the snowstorm, road closures, and power outages combined with calls of this nature. The late release of this information was due only to ongoing events which required our full attention and had no bearing on any relationship between the victim and any member of the Sheriff’s Office. Investigators have worked tirelessly throughout this investigation and will continue to do so until the Grand Jury makes their decision.”


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