Killeen police on Tuesday identified the man who killed one officer and wounded another during a SWAT standoff late Saturday night as 24-year-old Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Dustin Billy Cole.
Cole died during a shootout that resulted in the death of four-year Killeen Police Department veteran Robert “Bobby” Hornsby, 32.
Another officer, 33-year-old Juan E. Obregon Jr., suffered a wound to the leg and is recovering from surgery.
Cole was a Talihina, Okla., native, according to Fort Hood records. He enlisted in October 2008 after graduating from Talihina High School and entered active-duty service as a combat engineer.
He was assigned to 584th Mobility Augmentation Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, in February 2009, a news release from Fort Hood stated.
Cole deployed to Afghanistan twice, returning from his most recent deployment in February.
His assignment consisted of basic demolition work and constructing roadways and bridges in order to allow for the movement of forces.
According to police, Cole fired a semi-automatic AK-47 at SWAT officers just around midnight Saturday at his home located in the Grandon Manor apartment complex in the 1600 block of Grandon Drive.
A gunbattle erupted after residents notified authorities Cole threatened several people near a pool in the complex. According to police, Cole fired one shot at officers, then appeared to be about to surrender.
However, he armed himself with the assault rifle and began opening fire. The ensuing exchange of fire left the private first class dead along with Hornsby.
Photos from Cole’s Facebook profile show the soldier had a fondness for guns. Several photos posted to the site show him armed with assault rifles, shotguns and military grade weapons.
He posted a photo to the website Thursday and left a final written message July 10.
“So they say the sky’s the limit, but whoever said you had to listen? I shot for the stars and my bullet went so far that it wrapped around the universe and came back to me!” it stated. “Then it said ‘what’s next boss’ and I simply replied ‘job well done, go home for the day an I will see you tomorrow when we take over the world’!!!”
Neighbors said Cole had been drinking the night of the shooting. But many remain perplexed over the violent death of their neighbor, who they knew as a warm, friendly person.
“I feel like there was something here that triggered what happened,” said Cole’s next door neighbor, Tenesha Dixon, pointing toward her head. “I’ve never seen him in a violent manner with anyone.”
Services for officer
Hornsby’s death marked the first Killeen police officer killed in the line of duty in more than 95 years.
The department has organized large services for the officer, including a public viewing today at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Hornsby’s funeral will take place Thursday at 10 a.m. at the conference center. He will then be buried at Killeen City Cemetery.
To mark the somber occasion, a group is flying the same U.S. flag that flew over Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to Killeen.
The U.S. Honor Flag will arrive in town today after honoring the 19 firefighters who died while fighting a wildfire in Arizona.
A donation website for the family of slain Killeen police officer and Temple High School graduate Robert Hornsby was set up at www.hornsbyfamilyfund.com.
A local bank account was set up at Extraco Banks, Benefit for Robert Hornsby, account number 20396883.
Checks may be mailed to: Extraco Banks, Attn.: Benefit of Robert Hornsby, P.O. Box 2330, Harker Heights, TX 76548
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.