Standoff in Friona ends with gunfire, suspect’s death

By Michelle Seeber

Robby Lynn Vaughn, 37, of Muleshoe, was shot and killed Sunday by a Lubbock SWAT team member’s bullet after taking hostage a Baptist minister and his family in their Friona home.

Parmer County Sheriff Randy Geries, who led negotiations with Vaughn, said he died about 2:30 p.m. Sunday after about a 19-hour standoff involving more than six police departments, Texas troopers and SWAT teams.

Mark Stovall, minister of the First Baptist Church of Friona, wife, Debby, and their 14-year-old daughter were unharmed, Geries said.

Included in the standoff were the Texas Rangers, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Amarillo Police Department and its SWAT team, the Lubbock Police Department and its SWAT team, the Friona Police Department, the Farwell Police Department and the Parmer County Sheriff’s Department, Geries said.

Also involved was the Austin, Texas, SWAT team.
Friona Police Chief Royce Goodson said Vaughn was wanted in Lubbock County on a charge of violating parole with a deadly weapon. Attempted capital murder and aggravated kidnapping were added to the warrant by Sunday morning.

Geries said trouble with Vaughn began about 4 p.m. (CST) on Saturday, when a Texas trooper stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in Hale County and Vaughn, the driver, sped away.

“A pursuit ensued and shots were fired at the trooper’s vehicle,” Geries said. “A second pursuit occurred, and Galvan lost control of his (vehicle). It overturned several times. He was taken to Covenant Hospital in Plainview, Texas, where he was listed in serious condition.”

Vaughn was at large for several hours, Geries said.
During that time, he stole a vehicle in Swisher County and drove to Parmer County, where he stole three more vehicles, Geries said.

“Some were just unlocked vehicles out in the county,” Geries said. “The last one was a white mini van, and he sped toward Friona. He was intercepted by Friona Police Department units, and he shot at them.”

Vaughn, during the pursuit, wrecked the mini van on a Friona city street, got out of the vehicle and fled on foot to the Baptist minister’s house, taking the family hostage about 9 p.m. (CST).

“We were able to get the daughter out of the home, then the wife,” Geries said. “We got the minister out after he spent a couple of hours with Vaughn.”

While he was stealing vehicles, Geries said, Vaughn stole guns and rifles found in the vehicles and from homes, where the vehicles were located.

“Also the preacher had a gun or two that Vaughn got hold of,” Geries said. “He ultimately, after losing some of them along the way, ended up with three weapons. We requested mutual aide from some of our good friends.

“Austin (Texas) flew in a SWAT team, and during negotiations, warrants were issued on Vaughn for attempted capital murder on police officers,” Geries said.
Negotiations with Vaughn went into daylight Sunday while he was holed up in the minister’s home, Geries said.

“They did the best job they could,” Geries said of negotiators. “It was finally decided potential injury would be done by him. SWAT units moved in, and Vaughn confronted officers with a rifle. A Lubbock SWAT team sniper was forced to shoot Vaughn.”

Geries said Texas Rangers were investigating the shooting.
The Rev. Alvin Petty, minister of the Calvary Baptist Church of Friona, said he knew Stovall.

“He preached at his church this morning,” he said of Stovall. “He preached again (Sunday night).”

Petty said Stovall’s home was barricaded and nobody could get into it.

“I imagine it will be a while before the family can return home,” he said.

Geries said Stovall “was not even able to go into his house and change clothes.”

It appeared Vaughn had set traps around the house with intent to harm officers, Geries said.

“Cannon Air Force Base was more than helpful in responding and actually provided a service of clearing the area inside the residence, checking it for dangers and explosives, those types of things,” he said.

“The most fortunate thing is no one was injured outside of the suspect.”

Goodson said of Vaughn, “More than likely he would have gone back to the Texas Department of Corrections. His motive was that he didn’t want to return to the Texas Department of Corrections. That was certainly reason for him to flee from the police to begin with.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.