SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Two doctors are dead and a patient is in jail after a shooting at a Smith County dental clinic on Wednesday.
59-year-old Dr. Blake G. Sinclair and 75-year-old Dr. Jack E. Burroughs, both of Tyler, died after getting shot at Affordable Dentures & Implants on Highway 31.
A man accused of shooting them is now charged with capital murder and is in the Smith County jail.
Steven Alexander Smith, 40, of Tyler, was a patient at the clinic. He was later arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and capital murder of multiple persons. His bonds total $3 million.
Affordable Dentures & Implants gave a statement about the fatal double shooting at their Smith County location.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident and hold Dr. Burroughs and Dr. Sinclair and their loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. Our immediate focus is on supporting our employees, our patients and the families of those impacted by this horrific event. We are grateful to law enforcement for their bravery and professionalism in the face of senseless violence and will do whatever we can to assist them. In the meantime, we request that the public please respect the privacy of those affected.”-Spokesperson for Affordable Dentures & Implants
The sheriff’s office received a call around 2:45 p.m. about a shooting at Affordable Dentures on 3081 Highway 31 East near Tyler.
Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith gave information about what led up to the shooting.
Sheriff Smith said there was an altercation and an argument with some work on some dentures since Steven was a patient there at Affordable Dentures & Implants.
When deputies arrived they saw two men had gunshot wounds. According to an investigation, Smith got angry at clinic staff and went to his pickup truck. He later came back to the lobby area of the clinic, took out a handgun, and shot two doctors inside, said the sheriff’s office.
“[He] went out and retrieved medium-caliber pistol from his vehicle, returned inside and started shooting. Both of the victims were on the floor just inside the entry door,” said Sheriff Smith.
He later fled and headed west on Highway 31 toward Tyler. A witness told authorities the vehicle’s description and plate number. Some minutes later a deputy saw the suspect pulling into the driveway of his residence in South Tyler.
Smith went into his residence and deputies and Tyler Police Department officers established a perimeter around the house.
“They surrounded the house and the hostage negotiator from Smith County talked to them. At first, he let his parents out of the house and then ultimately, 10 minutes later he came out himself,” said Sheriff Smith.
Smith County SWAT, Tyler PD SWAT and Smith County Negotiators responded to the scene. Several minutes later Smith’s parents came out from the residence. Smith followed after and was arrested.
“The suspect did come out with his hands up and gave up without incident that’s a good thing,” said Andy Erbaugh with the Tyler Police Department.
Both of the victims were taken to a local hospital. One victim was in very critical condition with life-threatening injuries. The other victim went into emergency surgery. Both have since passed away.
The American Dental Association released the following statement on the tragedy:
“The ADA is shocked by the tragic loss of Drs. Sinclair and Burroughs and joins with the Texas Dental Association in expressing our deepest condolences to their families, dental team members and community.”-ADA
This continues to be an active investigation.
A search warrant was executed at Smith’s house where investigators found firearms. Now, they are checking to see if it matches the caliber of the gun used at the scene.
Friends of Doctor Blake Sinclair and Doctor Jack Burroughs declined to interview, but say they were both wonderful people who did not deserve to die in this shooting.