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No New Clues from Harmony Man's Autopsy

By: KBTX Staff
By: KBTX Staff

The cause of death has been determined for the Harmony man killed during a police shootout. The preliminary autopsy report, released today, shows Thomas Strong died from multiple gun shot wounds. Officials say Strong was shooting a rifle Wednesday morning in his neighbor's driveway.

When authorities arrived he opened fire at them, and authorities shot back. Strong has a criminal record. He was arrested on December 2, 2005 for abuse of 911 and was treated for possible mental health problems by MHMR. The case will go in front of a grand jury when the investigation is complete.

A Burleson County Sheriff deputy has been put on administrative leave following the death of a Harmony man. Thomas Strong was killed during a shoot-out with police Wednesday. The sheriff's department says based on policy the deputy was put on leave to be readily available for questioning. The sheriff's office says no wrong doing is suspected.

Authorities won't release the motive behind the shooting, but say they have questioned Strong's mental state in the past. An autopsy was conducted Thursday morning in Dallas. Police say the preliminary results will not be released. Following the investigation, the case will go in front of a grand jury. Strong attained local notoriety a few years ago when he won $3 million in the Texas lottery.

Burleson County officials are investigating a police shooting that left a former Texas lottery winner dead. Thomas Strong from the Burleson County community of Harmony won $3 million in the lottery 13 years ago. But Wednesday morning he was on the wrong side of the law.

Police aren't saying why Thomas Strong, a long time Burleson County resident and $3 million lottery winner changed his luck Wednesday morning.

"A neighbor had called about a disturbance about someone with a gun on neighboring property," Burleson County Sheriff Dale Stroud said.

Stroud says Strong was shooting guns in his front yard. When law enforcement arrived he started shooting at them, then took off in his pick-up truck.

The chase moved across Highway 36 then after a shoot-out between officers and Strong the situation ended in tragedy next to Harmony Baptist Church.

"The subject involved in the shootout is deceased. None of the officers were injured although at least 1 vehicle has taken rounds, there were a lot of rounds discharged by both parties, by officers and the suspect," Stroud said.

Police searched the area near Strong's house for shell casings, while a Department of Public Safety helicopter scanned the area.
Folks in nearby Caldwell wondered why a man with so much, would turn on police.

"I did know him and his wife and he seemed like a nice fellow," Burleson County resident Jimmy Kovar said.

Strong was related to a few officers involved in the shootout, and Sheriff Stroud knew him for 30 years.

"This is unfortunate this is what you hope never happens but unfortunately sometimes we have no alternative and that's what probably happened here today," Sheriff Stroud said.

Authorities will continue looking for answers to why this one-time millionaire turned his gun on the law.

Strong's family members declined to comment on the situation.

This is the second shooting in Burleson County in the last few months.

In May, Wayne Hefti was shot in Caldwell after pointing a rifle at officers.

Hefti only sustained minor injuries and faces charges for attempted capital murder of a peace officer.


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