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Player's Father Held in Shooting of Coach

By Sylvia Moreno
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 8, 2005; Page A02

AUSTIN, April 7 -- The disgruntled father of a Canton High School football player shot the school's athletic director in the campus field house Thursday and was captured several hours later, authorities said.

Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said authorities understood that there was "some kind of dispute with the coach involving athletics and it involved the shooter's son. He was upset with the coach."

Jeffrey Doyal Robertson is carried to an ambulance after being apprehended outside Canton, Tex. (Tom Worner -- Tyler Morning Telegraph Via Ap)

KRLD news radio in Dallas reported Thursday night that the alleged assailant's son had been kicked off the football team on Wednesday.

The alleged gunman, identified by police as Jeffrey Doyal Robertson, 45, was arrested in the early afternoon outside Lindale, 20 miles east of Canton High School. Canton is 60 miles east of Dallas.

The school shooting was the second in the nation in less than three weeks. On March 21, a student at the Red Lake Indian Reservation high school in Minnesota fatally shot nine people, including five students, before killing himself inside the school.

Texas authorities said Robertson arrived at the school about 9:30 a.m. armed with a large-caliber handgun and shot Gary Joe Kinne, 37, the football coach and athletic director. Robertson fled in a pickup loaded with weapons and abandoned the vehicle by a golf course near Lindale, officials said.

State and local law enforcement officers subsequently found Robertson on the course with his wrists slashed, Vinger said. Robertson was treated at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler and was later taken to jail, police said. He was expected to be arraigned Friday morning.

Kinne, shot in the chest, had been airlifted earlier to Trinity Mother Frances Health System in Tyler. A family spokesman said at a news conference in the late afternoon that the coach was in critical condition, but the spokesman would answer no questions.

According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Canton Police Chief Mike Echols said Robertson had been warned to stay off Canton High School property and had been barred from attending school functions. Vinger also said authorities were investigating reports that Robertson had threatened more than one person.

Steve Smith, the father of one of Canton High's football players, described Robertson as a hot-tempered person who months ago threatened the players on the team because they had teased his son, a freshman, during last fall's season. The coach's son, Smith said, was the team quarterback.

Smith, a Canton businessman, said he spoke to school officials, to the local police and to Robertson about his comments. He said he warned his son, a defensive end and kicker, to steer clear of Robertson.

"I told Mr. Robertson that I didn't appreciate him threatening my son," Smith said. "I told my son, 'If you ever see this man or his son, stay away.' "

The four schools in the Canton Independent School District were placed on lockdown after the shooting. Counselors and ministers were brought into the schools to help comfort and counsel students, school officials said.

Special correspondent Caroline Keating contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


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