Flint man charged with murder in fatal Memorial Day shooting in Tyler | Crime
A 29-year-old Flint man has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a Tyler man on Memorial Day.
Christopher Ryan Henry, 29, was indicted by a 7th District Court grand jury and remains in the Smith County Jail on $1 million bond. Henry is accused of shooting and killing Austin Lee Deweerdt, 33, of Tyler, according to court documents.
Deweerdt was shot on the morning of May 30 during what a witness told police was a fight between Deweerdt and Henry, who was later identified as a suspect and turned himself in to police.
Evidence led investigators to believe Henry fired the shots that killed Deweerdt, according to the Tyler Police Department.
Investigators believe a child seated inside a vehicle saw the violence unfold as Deweerdt and Henry engaged in a physical altercation that proved fatal, an arrest affidavit says. The child told young forensic investigators that Deweerdt was “standing across from another guy when the guy shot him.”
A witness, known to both the victim and the suspect, told police that Deweerdt and Henry got into a physical altercation after Henry came to Deweerdt’s home around 6 a.m. to meet the witness. The witness told police that Henry got Xanax from them and admitted that the witness and Henry often traded illegal drugs, but that they did not deal in prescription drugs or illegal drugs, according to the affidavit of ‘arrest.
When Henry arrived at the house, the witness was there, but Deweerdt was not at the time. Deweerdt arrived shortly after and blocked Henry’s vehicle in the driveway, the witness said, adding that the two men do not like each other and have argued in the past.
The witness said Deweerdt parked, got out of his vehicle, confronted Henry and asked him why he was there. The two began to shout, argue and insult each other before Deweerdt “slammed” Henry to the ground and they began to fight, according to the witness statement in the affidavit.
The witness attempted to stop the fight, and eventually Deweerdt and Henry lifted off the ground and stood up. Henry pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Deweerdt, threatening to shoot him, the witness told police.
Deweerdt responded by going to his vehicle and taking his own gun.
The witness told police that Deweerdt kept his gun at his side pointed at the ground, but Henry continued to point his gun at Deweerdt.
The witness again tried to break up the verbal altercation between the men and asked Henry to leave. Deweerdt eventually agreed to let Henry go by moving his vehicle, according to the affidavit. When Deweerdt got into his vehicle to move it, he left the gun in the passenger seat, which investigators were able to confirm.
Henry still had his gun in his hand, and although he could have moved his vehicle at this point, he didn’t leave. The fighting continued, becoming physical again. The men struggled further before getting to their feet, and that’s when the witness said Henry shot Deweerdt “several times,” the affidavit states.
Deweerdt was taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries.
When Henry arrived at his residence in Flint, he told his parents he was involved in a shooting, and his father called Tyler police to report it, according to the document.
Multiple inconsistencies were found between the witness’ testimony and Henry’s version of the story, according to the affidavit.
An arraignment hearing is scheduled for Henry on November 7, according to online records.