Callihan bound over to grand jury

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Officer testifies that shooter claimed self defense

Albert Callihan, the suspected shooter in a recent incident at Grayson’s Taco Bell, was in court last Wednesday for a hearing where Judge Rupert Wilhoit found probable cause to have his case bound over to the grand jury.

Officer Roy Ison, with the Grayson Police Department, testified at the hearing that when he arrived on the scene at Taco Bell he saw the victim, Scotty Eldridge, lying on the floor, “in pretty crippled shape.”

Ison testified that his first course of action was to inform dispatch, so they could send medical aid, and then to start separating witnesses. He said others were already administering first aid to Eldridge when he arrived.

He said at least one witness knew Callihan by name and identified him, and noted this witness was in the restaurant independently of Eldridge. Another witness, who was with Eldridge, testified that Callihan came in and that was when a physical altercation began. Ison was not able to review the video immediately, but said on later review he could see that a physical altercation between Eldridge and Callihan began as soon as Callihan entered the restaurant. Ison reported the video showed that an employee attempted to break up the fight, and it was at that point Callihan pulled the handgun, a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson MP.

He said he could tell from the video that up to four shots were fired, but he has not yet reviewed the medical report to see how many times Eldridge was shot.

The witness who was with Eldridge later told Ison there had been a verbal altercation between Callihan and Eldridge which began on Carol Malone Boulevard, near College Street. He told Ison that Callihan pulled up next to Eldridge's motorcycle in an automobile, and though he could see them communicating, he could not make out the content of the conversation over the sound of their bikes. He and Eldridge then pulled into the Taco Bell to order food and Callihan followed them shortly thereafter.

Based on the eyewitness testimony Ison then went to Callihan's home where the suspect surrendered with no incident.

He said that after he advised Callihan of his rights, and placed him in the cruiser, Callihan told him that the shooting had been in self defense, and claimed that four people were attacking him.

Ison further told the court there were three motorcycles in the lot, along with a number of other vehicles, when he arrived. He said two of the motorcycles belonged to Callihan and his companion while the third belonged to an unrelated party who was also eating in the restaurant at the time of the incident.

While he could not recall the total number of witnesses he spoke to off the top of his head, Ison said that two witnesses, including Eldridge's companion, identified the shooter as Callihan.

Ison said the witness would, “of course, be speculating,” about the content of Callihan's and Eldridge's conversation along Carol Malone, but told Ison that there was an issue between the two men related to money that had been ongoing for some time.

The defense attorney asked Ison if the victim was wearing any club colors, which County Attorney Brian Bayes objected to, stating that it was irrelevant to the assault charges, but Wilhoit allowed the question. Ison testified that Eldridge was wearing clothing identifying him as a member of the Reckless motorcycle club, but his companion was not. He said one other person in the restaurant, the rider of the other motorcycle who was not involved in the altercation or shooting, was wearing items identifying him as a member of a Christian motorcycle club. He emphasized that this individual was not part of the group with Eldridge and was simply in the restaurant at the time of the event.

“He didn't come with them,” Ison said.

Ison testified that no weapons were found on Eldridge at the scene of the shooting and that no one else was searched for weapons.

Ison told the court that while the front door of the restaurant is not visible in the video, the establishment is equipped with a lobby and a second door. That door is visible in the video, and that Callihan immediately engaged with Eldridge upon entering the restaurant through that second door. While the restaurant does have other cameras, Ison said, none of the other cameras show the incident. The cameras of other area businesses did capture the parking lot, Ison testified, but the cameras are distant and didn't show anything of relevance.

Forensics tests were conducted for gunshot residue on Callihan at the jail following his arrest, Ison said. The defense attorney also asked Ison if any other motorcycles were seen leaving the scene when he arrived. Ison said he did not notice any, and testified that he did, “go in cautious,” and was watching the area because of the nature of the incident.

Defense also asked several questions about the witnesses and what statements were taken, including questions about the employee who tried to separate the two men before Callihan drew his gun, which Bayes again objected to, noting that they didn't relate to probable cause, and were thus irrelevant at the time.

“This is discovery,” Bayes objected, but Wilhoit said he would give the defense “a little more leeway.”

Ison also testified that, at this time, he was not aware of any history of violence or criminal activity from the victim, following which Wilhoit found probable cause to bound the case over to the grand jury.

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