CANTON, Texas – The father of a high school football player shot and wounded the team’s coach Thursday, fled in a truck loaded with weapons, and then tried to kill himself by slashing his wrists, authorities said.
Jeffrey Doyle Robertson, 45, went to Canton High School just after classes started and shot coach Gary Joe Kinne in the chest, apparently with a .45-caliber pistol, police said. The coach, who also is the school’s athletic director, was airlifted to a hospital in Tyler. A family spokesman said he was in critical condition.
Robertson’s pickup was found about two hours later abandoned on a road next to a golf course a few miles outside town. Officers found him in the woods with cuts to his wrists, said Tom Vinger, a spokesman with the Department of Public Safety.
Television footage showed Robertson being carried to an ambulance on a stretcher. A balding man with a goatee, Robertson had a tattoo on his arm of cartoon character Yosemite Sam brandishing two guns and the words “Born to Raise Hell.” Robertson was treated at a hospital, then transported to a jail to await charges, authorities said.
Police were investigating a possible motive. On Wednesday, Robertson’s son, Baron, had apparently been banned from playing all school athletics, said Steve Smith Jr., a senior who was a defensive end and kicker on the team.
The father had been banned from the school’s campus and told not to attend school functions after several confrontations with coaches over the past year, Canton Police Chief Mike Echols said.
Some parents had been upset that Kinne had made his son the starting quarterback as a freshman, said parent Steve Smith Sr., who described Robertson as “a very high-strung, hot-tempered individual.”
Robertson had worked for six years for Dallas Plumbing Co., leaving in 2002 to start his own business with another man. Dallas Plumbing President John Downs described Robertson as a good employee. The last time Downs saw Robertson was about six months ago, when Robertson had a broken leg, bruises and abrasions from a road-rage-related fight on the side of a highway, he said.
“The last conversation that I had with him was that he really needed to learn how to control his temper or he was going to get hurt worse than that,” Downs said.
The state’s Homeland Security Office had alerted state officials about the possibility that Robertson had a hit list.
But Chief Mike Echols said officers did not find a hit list. Authorities were trying to get a warrant to search Robertson’s truck, where several guns were visible.
“We had heard there were certain people he named off that he wanted” to harm, Echols said.
Canton is a town of about 3,500 located 60 miles east of Dallas, and is known for holding a massive flea market each month.