TYLER, Texas (KETK) — A Tyler man was shot and killed on May 30 during an altercation with a man whom he did not have a cordial relationship with, according to an arrest affidavit acquired by KETK.
Christopher Ryan Henry, 29 of Flint, was arrested and charged with murder on June 3. He remains in the Smith County Jail on a $1 million bond.
According to an arrest affidavit, on Monday, May 30, a detective with the Tyler Police Department responded to an aggravated assault at around 6:10 a.m. in the area of Pinedale Place. He was further advised that the victim, identified as Austin Lee Deweerdt, lived at the residence and was “critically injured, and not expected to live.”
The detective was also informed that the suspect, Henry, was being detained at his own residence and that a resident of the home on Pinedale Place that had witnessed the assault was speaking with two other detectives. Upon the detective’s arrival at the scene, he found a number of situational indicators, including three spent shell casings and blood on the ground where Deweerdt had fallen after he was shot, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that the witness of the event, who was identified as Deweerdt’s girlfriend and mother of his child, recounted the event as follows:
She was standing in the driveway with Henry at around 6 a.m. near his vehicle when Deweerdt drove up, parking behind Henry. She added that the two men did not like each other and had issues and altercations in the past. In her statement, she recounted that Deweerdt immediately began verbally confronting Henry after exiting his vehicle before pushing him to the ground and wrestling with him, according to the affidavit.
Once the witness had separated the two, Henry allegedly pulled his gun out and threatened to shoot Deweerdt, to which he responded by going to his truck and producing his own gun. Documents said that Deweerdt ultimately regained composure and returned his gun to his vehicle and moved it out of Henry’s way.
However, the court document stated that Henry continued to threaten Deweerdt by pointing his gun at him and refused to leave despite being asked multiple times. The two men then allegedly began wrestling on the ground again, at which point the girlfriend had to break the two apart, according to the affidavit. That’s when the two stood up and Henry pointed and fired his gun multiple times at Deweerdt, which put him on the ground almost immediately, the affidavit stated.
Deweerdt’s 6-year-old son had also allegedly been in the truck during the event and witnessed his father “standing facing another guy when the guy shot [him].”
Deweerdt was rushed to the hospital via ambulance and given emergency surgery and later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.
The detectives then travelled to Flint, where they interviewed Henry and searched his home and located the gun that was used in the assault. During the interview, detectives said that he changed his statement of what occurred several times, according to the affidavit.
Henry claimed that Deweerdt immediately “socked” him in the face upon exiting his truck and punched him repeatedly in the face and in the side, the document stated. He then said that he reached over his shoulder with his gun and shot Deweerdt, who he claimed was “on his back”, according to the affidavit, and he said that he fired “once or twice.”
The affidavit stated that Henry said that he drove away from the scene immediately after the shooting, saying “I was just trying to get out of there, like everybody was telling me. I don’t give a f*** about him.”
During their investigation, detectives found several inconsistencies with Henry’s account of the events, including his account of Deweerdt’s “attack.” As previously mentioned, Henry described the altercation with Deweerdt punching him in the face and side repeatedly, though it was discovered that the description did not match up with his injuries.
According to the affidavit, Henry was observed to have several small areas of redness across his body and and minor abrasions on his knees, which was conjectured to be inconsistent with his account of the assault. Deweerdt was 6 feet tall and weighed 300 pounds, meaning that Henry’s injuries should have been much worse than what was observed by the investigators.
The next inconsistency was found in a Nest doorbell camera recording from a neighbor on Pinedale Place, in which three gunshots can be heard, the first two in rapid succession and the third two to three seconds later. The affidavit stated that Henry claimed that he only fired once or twice.
The final inconsistency was found after a review of Deweerdt’s autopsy, which is described as follows from the affidavit:
Only one of the bullets had managed to hit Deweerdt, though it also ultimately killed him. It was discovered that the bullet entered in the lower right abdomen, travelling at a steep upward angle. It first moved through a portion of the small bowel or colon, through the liver, through the diaphragm, through the right lower lung, struck the right eighth posterior rib, fracturing it and finally coming to a rest 1/4 or 1/2 an inch below the skin between the shoulder blade and the spine.
The affidavit states that the incident could not have happened the way that Henry described due to the steep upward angle that the bullet travelled in Deweerdt’s body.
Based on all of this evidence, a warrant was produced from Henry’s arrest. He turned himself in on June 3.