A former staff sergeant who served with the Fort Hood master sergeant who Texas Rangers say shot himself following a police pursuit in rural Bell County on Oct. 12 remembered his supervisor as a “perfectionist” and friendly outside of work.
Former Army Staff Sgt. Scott Hesterly served under Master Sgt. Alva Joe Gwinn, 39, with Fort Hood’s 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade, during a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2013.
“(Gwinn) was hard to train with to begin with,” Hesterly said Thursday. “If you didn’t do it correctly, he made you do it over and over again until it was correct.
Gwinn died of a self-inflicted gunshot after being shot by a Williamson County sheriff’s deputy following a high-speed vehicular pursuit northbound on State Highway 195 from Florence, police said.
Gwinn was a decorated active-duty master sergeant and combat engineer who served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to post officials.
Hesterly, of Nolanville, said Gwinn was friendly when off duty.
“He was very helpful and friendly outside of work,” he said.
Gwinn was assigned to Fort Hood in 2012 and had entered active-duty military service in 1999, according to a Fort Hood news release.
Officials say Gwinn deployed on four tours of duty in Afghanistan from January to August 2003, from April to December 2004, from March 2010 to March 2011 and from March to November 2013. Gwinn also deployed once to Iraq from November 2005 to November 2006.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. David Roberts said Oct. 12, Gwinn attempted to flee a traffic stop on State Highway 195 north of Florence. During the chase, his vehicle was disabled and he fled on foot.
Gwinn then pointed a handgun at officers, who responded by shooting him because of the threat, according to a news release. After being wounded, Gwinn shot himself in the head.
Jack Danford, the deputy who fired on Gwinn, was placed on administrative assignment and taken out of the field pending the Rangers investigation, as is the protocol in a deputy-involved shooting, Williamson County officials said.
Gwinn had been facing a Nov. 6 court date on a 2012 charge of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Killeen, according to news reports.
The incident remains under investigation by the Texas Rangers, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Robbie Barrera.