Kilgore's Martin Resource Management headquarters and vehicles parked nearby were damaged by gunshots Thursday afternoon, leading local law enforcement to lock-down the area while searching for a shooter.
No one was hurt, Kilgore Police Department confirmed later, but both the Martin facility and nearby Frontier Communications were evacuated as multiple agencies assisted with the incident, closing down Stone Road on either side of the Hwy. 259 Bypass for about two hours.
KPD's investigation began with a series of 911 calls about 1:23 p.m. Thursday, and the case is ongoing.
Dispatchers took multiple reports of gun shots near Martin's 4200 Stone Road operation in addition to calls from Frontier to the southwest.
According to Kilgore Police Chief Todd Hunter, “Responding officers were stopped by a vehicle fleeing the immediate area that reported to have been shot near Stone Road.”
Police shut down the immediate area, and Martin Gas employees were initially directed to shelter in place while the smaller staff at Frontier Communications was evacuated. Officers deployed to Martin Gas while aerial surveillance was conducted via drones from Kilgore Fire Department and Sabine Fire Department. A Kilgore K-9 Unit was also brought in.
“After a search of the grounds was completed, additional officers were brought in to secure the grounds and evacuated the employees of Martin,” Hunter said.
A longtime Martin Gas employee, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed the facility has lock-down protocols in place and was evacuated in short order per instructions from the police.
"Everybody is safe," the individual said. "Nobody was injured or anything, but they did decide it was best to evacuate the building."
Another witness on scene who works nearby reported it's not the first time in recent days that gunfire has been reported in the vicinity.
In addition to KPD, Kilgore Fire Department and Sabine FD's drone pilot, the Texas Rangers were involved in the initial search for a suspect alongside Gregg County Sheriff's Office personnel and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety as well as the Kilgore Fire Marshal and Kilgore Rescue Unit.
“No one was injured, but we can confirm that the Martin building and additional cars did sustain damage from apparent gunshots,” Hunter reported. “This is an active investigation, with detectives currently talking to witnesses and gathering evidence.”
Martin employees have been asked to inspect their vehicles for bullet holes.
“If you find anything suspicious,” the police chief added, “please contact the Kilgore Police Department” at 903-983-1559.
“As I said, this is an active investigation, and we will wait to comment further.”
Martin remained on minimal staffing Thursday evening after the incident.