Tyler man arrested for Mother’s Day homicide; victim’s identity released

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A Tyler man has been arrested in connection with a Mother’s Day shooting at a gas station in Tyler.

According to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a gas station in the 11800 block of Highway 64 West around 2 a.m.

When deputies arrived, a man, now identified as Donovon Reese, 27, of Tyler, was found dead inside a vehicle in front of the store.

Through interviewing witnesses and the victim’s friends and family, a suspect was identified as James Robert Smith III, of Tyler.

[RELATED]: Smith County authorities investigating Tyler homicide

Officials say Smith and Reese do have several previous encounters, spanning about two years, and being drug-related in nature. Officials believe the last communication between the two was around four months ago, and this meeting was “by chance”.

Deputies then went to Smith’s house to interview him. Smith refused and deputies obtained a warrant to arrest him and charge him with murder.

His bond is set at $750,000 in the 241st District Court of Smith County.

Sheriff Larry Smith explained how the shooting happened. He says Reese, along with two others in his vehicle were at the gas station to help change a flat for someone else.

That’s when the sheriff said Smith pulled up to the vehicle said “hey bro” and started firing, using a handgun.

At least one shell casing has been recovered and is being processed by Smith County officials.

Detectives have impounded two vehicles belonging to Smith. They are looking for shell casings, gun powder residue, and the murder weapon.

Officials are going back to Smith’s residence today, but they already have evidence that Sheriff Smith says places him at the scene of the crime.

An autopsy for Reese has been ordered. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith says this is standard in any suspicious death.

A candlelight vigil for Reese has been scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m. in P.T. Cole Park, 903 Mockingbird Lane, Tyler.

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