Rusk fire chief suspended 6 months following assault charge

RUSK, Texas (KETK) - The Rusk Volunteer Fire Chief has been suspended six months following an assault charge brought against him in early January.

City Manager Mike Murray confirmed Fire Chief Donald Lankford was suspended on February 11. The suspension was made by the Volunteer Fire Department's Membership Committee, and the decision was based on their by-laws.

Back on New Year's Eve, two teenagers reported a man tried to pull one of them from a vehicle near Highway 69 and Highway 84 after they threw a firecracker toward a stand owned by Lankford, according to police reports. Video from a local gas station showed Lankford later caught up with boys on the road.  In the video, Lankford pulled his car in front of the SUV and approached it.

In an interview with KETK, the teen driver claims Lankford grabbed his shoulder and attempted to pull him from their SUV. Lankford denied the incident to authorities, according to a police report.

The teens stated Lankford then chased them in his vehicle all the way to Anderson County and allegedly tried to run them off the road twice.

Following about a week-long investigation, Lankford was charged with assault on Tuesday, February 5, 2016.

The fire chief declined to talk to KETK during the initial report.

The Rusk county attorney said a special prosecutor is currently investigating the case.


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